In his opening days in office, Mayor Eric Garcetti — still getting used to that — is putting the word out that he wants a “no drama” administration.
In an interview last night on KCRW's “Which Way L.A.,” Garcetti said he would avoid open conflict with City Council President Herb Wesson, saying divided government “might make headlines” but isn't productive.
“There'll be disagreements. We'll have them respectfully,” Garcetti said. “Both President Wesson and myself are very committed to doing those as friends behind closed doors.”
It's early days yet, and for now there don't seem to be too many differences to sort out.
“Herb Wesson is an enthusiastic supporter of Mayor Garcetti,” said Wesson spokesman Ed Johnson. “They are good friends and they work well together. There is no reason why that should change.”
It was only a few months ago, however, that Wesson was making sure that everyone at City Hall understood that he was not going to take a backseat to the new mayor on anything.
“I'm telling you and you can rest assured that when you go talk to the mayor, whoever that is, you better come talk to me, because I'm going to be an equal partner, the council will be,” he said in March, as reported in the Downtown News. “We're not going to be a junior partner.”
In the KCRW interview, Garcetti said that he won't pursue vendettas against those — like IBEW boss Brian D'Arcy — who supported his opponent in the campaign.
“If you win an election, you don't look to punish anybody,” he said.
Garcetti has, however, already started doling out rewards. On Tuesday he appointed former Councilwoman Jan Perry to head the new Economic Development Department. After finishing fourth in the mayoral primary, Perry endorsed Garcetti and campaigned heavily for him.
The department is a successor to the Community Redevelopment Agency, and it has the authority to buy and sell real estate — including at below-market value — to foster economic development. Perry was strongly pro-developer during her dozen years on the City Council.
Wesson and Perry have had their differences in the past, to put it mildly. (See, e.g., “I feel your wrath.”) But if Wesson has a problem with Perry getting a top job in the Garcetti administration, he's keeping mum about it.
“I'm not aware that Mr. Wesson has a comment at this time,” Johnson said.
Best to save it for the meetings behind closed doors.