By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Hahn and two allies had prepared an emergency motion to cancel the layoffs. For the motion to pass, the council needed 10 votes to make a finding that new information had come to light since the posting of the agenda.
Hahn argued that new information had, in fact, been revealed in closed session, and asked for a vote to make it part of the public record. Such a motion would require only an eight-vote majority, and Hahn knew she had it.
But then Garcetti spoke up, for the only time during the entire debate. Labor leaders had believed that Garcetti supported them. But he insisted that the council first vote on the findings, which required 10 votes, two more than what Hahn needed to reopen debate.
"It has nothing to do with the substance," he said. "I understand your motivation. It wasn't a bad one. But I believe the first vote is to make the findings."
Garcetti voted for the findings. But the motion got only eight votes — a majority but still two votes shy of the supermajority needed to reopen the issue. The motion failed, and the layoffs went forward.
Garcetti could claim he had voted with labor groups, but on the key question — the parliamentary one — he had torpedoed them. He made the layoffs happen.
The unions were seething. Confident of Garcetti's support, they had told their members the layoffs were dead. Now they had to explain they'd been wrong.
Says one labor leader: "That makes you look really bad in front of the membership."
Wendy Greuel would not have done that. If she supports a position in public, she tends to support it behind the scenes as well. The two top mayoral candidates' conflicting approaches came into sharp relief in 2008, during the fight over Brian D'Arcy's solar plan.
IBEW Local 18 had been dragging its feet on environmental measures for years. But as public sentiment shifted, its leaders did an abrupt about-face, drafting a multibillion-dollar initiative that would give IBEW workers an iron grip on new solar jobs.
In public, both Garcetti and Greuel couldn't have been happier. They were so in sync they practically finished each other's sentences. "Today we have the ability to make history," Garcetti crowed.
"I echo what Mr. Garcetti said," Greuel said.
But there was tension behind the scenes. Environmental groups and other unions complained that D'Arcy was making a power grab, and they were being shut out.
D'Arcy was brutal with his critics.
"The way he talked to me, it was like I was a heretic," says Matt Petersen, of the advocacy group Global Green. "I thought he was going to tackle me and call me all sorts of names in public." [Clarification: The speaker was referring to discussions about an earlier solar power proposal, which took place in 2005.]
The council was pressed for time. It had only a couple of weeks to debate the measure before the deadline to place it on the ballot. But Garcetti had reservations, and asked for independent analysis. That analysis raised red flags about the measure, and it later leaked into the pages of the L.A. Times under the headline "L.A. Solar Plan Called Very Risky."
"Garcetti's office was more skeptical of the process," says Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve and a DWP commissioner, who supports Greuel and faults Garcetti for mishandling the issue. "Opening it up had its consequences. One of those consequences was opening up daylight between environmental groups, which Republican opposition groups then exploited."
Garcetti's staff met with Greuel's staff to try to work out amendments addressing some of the concerns that had been raised about the solar program. According to Yusef Robb, Garcetti's spokesman, Greuel's staff agreed to make whatever changes they wanted, with one proviso: "Get Chris to agree to it."
Chris Modrzejewski is D'Arcy's lobbyist — meaning that Greuel's staff was not about to agree to any changes opposed by IBEW. In effect, her office was delegating its legislative function to D'Arcy.
Greuel's calendars show Modrzejewski has more access than just about anyone to her office, racking up 16 meetings with Greuel over a three-year span. In addition to being the IBEW lobbyist, he is the strategist behind the IBEW-funded campaign supporting Greuel. His wife is a Greuel fundraiser. Modrzejewski's brother and father are being paid to put up billboards supporting her campaign. Greuel's calendar includes a reminder for Modrzejewksi's birthday. Greuel's office has been known to keep Modrzejewski in the loop on sensitive issues in real time. He is used to getting what he wants.
In this case, he did. Garcetti settled for only cosmetic changes to the union-backed plan, and Measure B was placed on the ballot.
In public, Garcetti was enthusiastic. But he'd been steamrolled. Defending Garcetti's continued support for the measure, one ally says, "That was a tough train to lie down in front of."
He at least had tried — however ineffectively — to wrest some control away from D'Arcy. Greuel didn't see a reason to try. It was left up to the voters to shoot it down, which they did.
One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure the relationship of the IBEW and Wendy Greuel. They have put in over $500,000 for an independent campaign to support Wendy. Of course they expect a pay back in the years ahead.
LA Weekly has done a marvelous job covering this election. This story on D'Arcy is way ahead of anything the LA Times or Daily News has done on the election. I hope voters are going online to follow the campaign in the LA Weekly newspaper.
Funny thing is one a macro scale the right wing war on unions looks wrong but on the micro level of LA government the unions do have way to much power and influence resulting in these absurd double dipping pensions and high salaries etc etc.
But its a democratic show and all the realistic candidates are insiders and won't get elected without union support so how is anything going to change?
Final rant - lets make the fire department's only job fighting fires. Create a new department dedicated to saving little old ladies that fall down so instead of having 15 firefighters show up in 2 big trucks you have 2 guys in an ambulance show up - saving how many billions a year????
@ketchy . DWP rates in the Valley are sky high. They would be much lower if the City Hall politicians weren't in the back pocket of the union that represents the DWP workers. The article made it clear that Wendy Greuel is in the back pocket of the DWP union. She allows their lobbyist to have free access to her and her office. What more do we need to know?
A tough negotiator would achieve a fair deal for the workers but also the rate payers (voters) who own the DWP. Wendy is going to give them a huge raise to pay back their investment in her campaign, and that funding will be passed onto the city rate payers (voters). No thanks.
The article made it crystal clear. If you want a higher water and power bill, vote for Wendy.
This is corruption at its peak, it is ridiculous that the DWP bosses make more than the mayor, it is just criminal to hear of something like that. If we elect Wendy Gruel or Garcetti, we will have more of the same, maybe it is time to elect someone that is outside of this dirty politics pool, someone like Kevin James, someone who is going to make fair pension deals that eliminate special benefits and unnecessary health benefits that are currently increasing our city deficit. If anyone is passionate on restoring LA and interested in volunteering for Kevin James, visit volunteerforkevin.wordpress.com
Great article! Thank you for debunking the Greuel fiscal conservancy myth, and for shedding light on her comfortable relationship with the DWP
A must read piece, esp for anyone that's paid a DWP bill. Who sez journalism is on the wane? Good job connecting the dots here, Maddeus.
I doubt that he'll join that rat-pack.
And don't forget to kill Prop. A, Tony Villar's brilliant effort to pay for union pensions on the backs of the city's lowest classes.
There's a rumor going around that when Garcetti didn't get the DWP endorsement, he started crying. Does anyone know if this is true? If so, please let me know....
Thanks for warning us about this Wendy Greuel. The last thing we need is another Mayor that's owned by the DWP union. Our rates out here in the Valley are already high enough. In fact they're ridiculously high for a utility that's owed by the taxpayers. Now I see why, so we can pick up that inflated salaries of the union bosses.
I won't be voting for Wendy Greuel or anyone who's owned by these public employee unions. We've stomped out their propositions in the past and plan on doing it again next month.
@Fred_Ward What utility is going to give you lower rates than DWP? Everyone I know with SCE has higher rates than I pay with DWP.
Not Kevin James. And while you're at it, don't forget the kill the union-backed Prop. A., Villaraigosa's brilliant effort to put a tax increase on the back of the city's lowest classes.
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