Eric Garcetti's Five Worst Mayoral Appointees | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Eric Garcetti's Five Worst Mayoral Appointees

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Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 7:03 AM

click to enlarge Surely there was a better process? - CHRIS LOTT
Did Mayor Eric Garcetti have only three files from which he chose his city commissioners, who wield influence over whether to fire bad cops, expand LAX into Westchester, push from outside for shakeups at failing LAUSD schools and kill off L.A.'s wildly unsustainable policies such as its patch-the-streets-never-fix-'em follies?

Garcetti Appointee File One: Best friends who backed him for mayor. File Two: Enemies who backed him for mayor. File Three: People who gave him cash to run for mayor. We think, in many cases, Garcetti pulled from the three files. This may explain why his powerful city commissions and mayoral advisory teams contain a tad too many people who have no clue what they're doing.

Here are Garcetti's five worst mayoral appointees:

1. Kevin James

click to enlarge Kevin James and Eric Garcetti love fest. - CREDIT
  • credit
  • Kevin James and Eric Garcetti love fest.
As a 2013 Los Angeles mayoral candidate, former conservative radio host Kevin James was a self-styled outsider who railed against government waste, bureaucratic incompetence and political arrogance. The Republican took on Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel -- and won a paltry 16 percent of the vote.

But that 16 percent mattered, greatly, in the general election. When James endorsed Garcetti, it gave the progressive candidate credibility with certain segments of the San Fernando Valley and with fiscal conservatives. It may have even won Garcetti the election. Payback time! Garcetti appointed James to the Board of Public Works, which comes with a fat $136,000 annual salary.

Oh, the power! At a City Journal book party this summer, James was heard stage-whispering to a small group of guests, "The city is going to turn around because I am going to be made president of the Board of Public Works."

He was, in fact, elected by his fellow commissioners to that leadership role. In true Animal Farm-style, however, once the pig was on the payroll, everything changed. As a candidate, James had been a neighborhood-pandering populist: He opposed plans to move an LAX runway, argued against a Hollywood skyscraper and urged delay on a proposed downtown football stadium, writing that there hadn't been enough time to ponder its 10,000-page environmental impact report. Yet when James confronted his first real challenge at the Board of Public Works -- a proposed Sherman Oaks fire station, planned with little public notice and no environmental impact report whatsoever -- he voted yes, never mind that it's precisely the sort of deal he would have inveighed against as a candidate. Said one neighbor, "Kevin James is full of shit." --Sarah Fenske

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