Brainiac Mayoral Candidate Eric Garcetti Pleads Ignorance On Clear Channel Vote as Rival Emanuel Pleitez Files Ethics Complaint

Read L.A Weekly feature article about inner-city success story Emanuel Pleitez.

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez is now getting into the thick of a brewing scandal involving rival Eric Garcetti, who L.A. Weekly reported owned stock in Clear Channel Communications while at the same time voted in 2006 on a city matter that brought the company's subsidiary a huge financial windfall.

On Thursday, the Pleitez campaign officially filed a complaint with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, saying Garcetti should have recused himself from that vote. "Council member Garcetti tries to portray himself as so 'holier than thou,'" says Pleitez spokesman John Hill, "but the more you dig the more dirt you find."

Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman responds: "This is not a conflict. Because Eric did not hold stock in Clear Channel Outdoor, he didn't know or have any reason to know that he had a financial interest."

Millman adds, "As is his practice, Eric cast his vote based on the public's best interest, informed by the City Attorney's strong recommendation to the City Council. The motion was introduced by other council members and the vote was unanimous."

The brouhaha revolves around Garcetti voting to approve a city settlement that allowed Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor to each erect 420 digital billboards across Los Angeles.

You know, those huge blaring billboards that tell you to watch American Idol that night as you drive through rush hour traffic. The ones that sometimes blind you because they are so freaking bright. The ones that nearly anyone who sees them considers to be major blight in their neighborhoods. Those digital billboards.

Well, Garcetti said, yeah, go ahead and put up 840 of the godawful things all over Los Angeles -- a judge later voided that settlement, and that ruling is now going through the state appeals process.

L.A. Weekly's Gene Maddaus broke the news Wednesday that Garcetti owned stock in Clear Channel Communications, which holds Clear Channel Outdoor as a subsidiary, at the time of that vote.

Laughably, brainiac Garcetti -- who attended the Ivy League's Columbia University and was a Rhodes Scholar, who knows every little factoid and city policy known to man and loves to let you know that he knows -- told Maddaus he had no idea Clear Channel Communications "retained any control" over Clear Channel Outdoor.

What a hoot! The only problem is that he's running to be mayor of the second largest city in the United States with a population of nearly 4 million people. His pleading of ignorance is troublesome, to say the least.

If Garcetti truly couldn't connect the dots about Clear Channel, then clearly he's not as smart as he makes himself out to be, and we've already dealt with a mayor for the past eight years who didn't care about such details, which now has Los Angeles on the verge of bankruptcy.

Or Garcetti refuses to own up to his error in judgment and instead chooses to tell a fib. That's not so great either.

Pleitez is trying to get some mileage out of the Garcetti/Clear Channel controversy, but it looks as though his complaint with the Los Angeles Ethics Commission may add up to nothing.

According to an ethics commission official, who would not comment on Pleitez's filing, she says there is usually a statute of limitations of four years in these types of cases. Garcetti cast his controversial vote in 2006.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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