Simply allowing the firing to stand could prove costly to both the council and the city in the long run. Back when Dick Riordan sought more firing power over city managers, the counterargument ran that if senior executives could be tossed aside at will, the city might have trouble attracting and retaining top talent. Riordan and his allies‘ response was that Los Angeles mayors would certainly never misuse this power. But how would you like to be Dan Knapp’s “permanent” replacement?
Only six years ago, Raquelle de la Rocha was a part-time instructor at UCLA Law School who‘d served as a member of the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. Then the mayor of Los Angeles apparently determined that she could be counted on to do what she was told. She was appointed president of the City Ethics Commission, where her first job was to fire hard-charging Executive Director Ben Bycel.
After controversial terms as president of the Ethics Commission and then the Police Commission, de la Rocha retired last summer along with the Riordan administration. She repaired to Sacramento to fill another commission seat, with Gray Davis‘ administration. It seemed reasonable to assume that the state capital, where she had begun her public career, was probably where her future lay.
Now, however, several sources confirm that she’s being considered for an appointment to a Los Angeles County Superior Court judgeship. For once, I have to say, words fail me.