In his campaign for L.A. mayor, Councilman Eric Garcetti has made a lot of hay out of his opponent's labor allies. Brian D'Arcy, the head of the DWP union, has raised $2.7 million to support Controller Wendy Greuel and run attack ads against Garcetti.
"This is a record for a mayor's race," Garcetti said at a debate on Wednesday night. "The DWP union needs to know this election is not for sale, and this city is not for sale."
But there was a time when Garcetti was much friendlier with D'Arcy.
Back in 2009, D'Arcy sponsored a ballot initiative, Measure B, which would have given his union the exclusive right to install 400 MW of solar power. Garcetti was a big supporter of the measure, and raised money for it.
An e-mail thread that's been making the rounds for a few weeks details just how friendly the relationship was. In an e-mail to Measure B's communications director, Sarah Leonard, and to D'Arcy, on Feb. 23, 2009, Garcetti bragged that he had raised $50,000 from real estate heir Steve Bing, a major contributor to Democratic and environmental causes:
Got Steve Bing to agree to $50,000 (mayor called him as well, but he is an old friend who owed me some environmental love), got 5-10K from latham and watkins, 5-10K from Barbra Streisand's fundraiser, and the earlier 5K from Tom Unterman. If I split Steve Bing with the mayor, I am up to 45K and pushing hard to get over the 50K mark. It has been slow going but we are pushing.
Leonard (now Sheahan) wrote back an hour later, asking if Garcetti, who was then the council president, could help reschedule a hearing on a DWP audit until after the March 3 election, which was the following week. The hearing was set to be held in Councilwoman Jan Perry's Energy and Environment Committee.
great news, thank you! we could use it.
any chance jan perry's ee hearing on the iea report with laura chick can be delayed til next wednesday??
Three minutes later, Garcetti responded: "Lemme see what I can do..."
According to Michael Trujillo, who was campaign manager for Measure B, the campaign was worried that Chick, then the controller and a Measure B opponent, would use the hearing to highlight concerns about the cost of the measure.
"The feeling was that having a committee hearing on this audit wasn't advantageous for Measure B," Trujillo told the Weekly. "We were trying to limit the negative frame that was wrapped around it."
Trujillo, who is now working for Greuel, said he was organizing to pack the hearing room with Measure B supporters, when he heard that the audit had been taken off the agenda.
In a statement, Garcetti's spokesman said that he had never followed up with Perry on the issue.
"He never discussed with Jan and nothing came from this," said the spokesman, Jeff Millman, "Eric and Jan
created the independent ratepayer advocate over the DWP to bring transparency and accountability to the department."
Perry, who has endorsed Garcetti, concurred.
"I don't recall him asking me that," she told the Weekly.
Perry said the hearing was delayed due to scheduling issues. It was ultimately heard in July, four months after Measure B failed at the polls.
Greuel brought up the e-mail at Wednesday's debate, asking Garcetti, "Why did you prevent this from being heard?"
"We did not delay it," Garcetti said, noting that Greuel also supported Measure B.
Trujillo said he never learned exactly why the hearing was postponed, but assumed that Garcetti had delivered for the Measure B campaign.
"Garcetti said yes every time we asked him to do something," Trujillo said, adding that he finds it ironic that Garcetti is now attacking the DWP union. "It just seems odd that Councilman Garcetti stands in front of the DWP, calling them a special interest. Yet as council president, he happily reported donor by donor how much he was raising for Measure B."