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Gold Card Scandal May Offer Insight to the Mayoral Race

PERSPECTIVE - No sooner had City Controller Wendy Greuel plastered email inboxes with another example of “her efforts to save taxpayer money” proclamations, it became apparent that her shock and dismay with the parking gold card program, which was designed to cancel parking tickets for those with City Hall connections, were disingenuous.

The mayor rebutted – Greuel helped author the program and was briefed on it, [link] her denial amounting to crocodile tears. She even used the service while she served on the City Council.

This is a classic case of political cannibalism:  two unsavory officials willing to devour the other in order to escape culpability.  Bring out the toothpicks.

I’m sure the investigative reporters of the Times, News and Weekly will examine this delectable feast in more detail.

But what does this mean for the mayoral campaign?

Was Mayor Villaraigosa simply being defensive when he pointed the finger right back at Greuel? Does his counter-charge provide a clue as to who he might (or might mot) be supporting in the 2013 race?

At a minimum, the mayor gave Greuel’s opponents some heavyweight campaign material to use against her.  It would be difficult for him to support her after effectively branding her a liar.

Will he back Garcetti for lack of a better ally?  It doesn’t seem to me that he would support Jan Perry.  It’s safe to say he won’t back Kevin James.

Beutner?  I can’t see Villaraigosa getting behind the most unexciting candidate in the race, even if he was one of the mayor’s appointees.

Yaroslavsky? I think egos would get in the way.

I have to guess that Garcetti appears to be the most likely beneficiary of the mayor’s machine – as long as the Council President avoids controversy.

For certain, Villaraigosa does not stand on the moral high ground in this scandal. That’s not where he is trying to come from, although that’s what he would like us to believe. No, he is simply not going to tolerate anyone embarrassing him – friend or foe.

In any event, we must all insist on answers from both Greuel and the mayor.

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village and can be reached at: ) –cw

Vol 9 Issue 42
Pub: May 27, 2011