LA WATCHDOG-The political landscape in Council District 14 has changed dramatically now that the termed out County Supervisor Gloria Molina has announced that she will run against Councilman Jose Huizar, the incumbent who has occupied this seat since 2005.
Huizar has significant advantages against any insurgent, including a staff of about 20 City paid employees whose main mission is to ensure the reelection of their boss. He also has the ability to direct the City’s resources to pet projects that benefit his key constituents, create goodwill in the community, and provide for numerous photo ops and press releases. He also has access to a $100,000 City financed slush fund and a constituent funded office holder account (up to $75,000) that allow him the flexibility to finance even more pet projects outside of the City’s cumbersome bureaucracy.
His greatest advantage is in raising cash – the ultimate aphrodisiac for politicians - to fund his reelection campaign. As the representative for Downtown Los Angeles (“DTLA”) and as the Chair of the very powerful, developer friendly Planning Committee, Huizar has been able to amass a war chest of $650,000, $400,000 greater than any other candidate for City Council.
A closer examination of his 1,150 contributors, most of whom do not live in the council district, shows that 63% “maxed” out at $700, suggesting that the City is for sale to real estate developers, contractors, lawyers, lobbyists, union leaders, and other special interests, the hell with our quality of life.
Huizar is also embroiled in a couple of scandals, including a 2012 car accident which the City settled for $185,000 in March of 2014.
The major scandal involves a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Francine Godoy, his former aide, alleging that married Huizar retaliated against her for refusing to continue their sexual relationship. During her tenure in his office, the very attractive Godoy’s salary increased from $47,000 in 2006 to $132,000 in 2013, during which time she moved into an adjoining office to Huizar that had a specially constructed connecting door.
To date, the City Council authorized payments up to $200,000 to a law firm to defend the City and Huizar against these allegations. But the real hit will be the million dollar settlement as a trial would embarrass the City Council and its leadership since the affair was common knowledge.
Of course, if this were corporate America, Huizar would be out on the street without a job.
As for Molina, she is concerned about the lack of services provided to Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Eagle Rock and other parts of this gerrymandered district, implying that Huizar is spending too much time cultivating the campaign funding developers in DTLA.
As one of the Supervisors who exercised great restraint during the economic downturn so that the County could balance its books, she has indicated that she will focus on the City’s budget and finances, an area that has not been a Huizar priority unless he was voting to increase our sales tax.
As we get to know “feisty” Molina, her track record over the last 32 years, policies, goals, and personality, we are sure to find a few buried bodies, including the County’s unfunded retirement liabilities that are greater than the City’s pension liabilities on a per capita basis.
While the two candidates will duke it out for endorsements, Molina’s fellow Supervisor, Mike Antonovich, the Board’s “most politically conservative member” who has often disagreed with Molina on hot button issues, endorsed Molina, saying, “I have always found her to be an honorable person.”
There is no doubt that we need more honorable representatives on our City Council.
Let the fight begin as we are in for a donnybrook in Council District 14.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: email@example.com. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.)
Vol 12 Issue 73
Pub: Sep 9, 2014