A Case for #TyphoidEric Garcetti

@THE GUSS REPORT-Los Angeles needs a hash tag that will sufficiently embarrass Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti into coming back to the city from parts unknown, much like a frazzled mom calling her children to dinner from playing in the neighbor’s yard. 

The latest reason we need such a battle cry is last week’s disease outbreak that not long ago would have been a punch line: “There could be an outbreak of typhus, and Eric Garcetti still wouldn’t return to Los Angeles!” 

But the fact is such an outbreak was discovered last week in one of the filthiest, most congested parts of the city, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti only communicates through his army of spokespeople as he traipses across the U.S. in places not named Los Angeles. 

To be fair, while typhus can kill you, and there is no vaccine for it, it can be treated with the common antibiotic doxycycline. But without the presence of the city’s chief executive calling attention to it, and doxy for it, people can indeed die, especially if they are older than 60 and/or live in filthy, congested conditions with open wounds. 

What’s more galling is that Garcetti shows no shame for the ongoing poverty and living conditions which caused the outbreak where the poorest-of-our-poor reside in the shadow of billions of dollars of property development with luxury, unaffordable housing that the homeless – or even the middle class – will never enjoy. 

Oh, but don’t worry.  Garcetti recently – strike that – finally housed a few dozen of LA’s tens of thousands of homeless people. He “accomplished” this after spending nearly 18 years in elected office at a cost of $2.4 million for a half dozen trailers which he says are “just temporary.” 

Why, if Garcetti can replicate that in each of the City of LA’s 15 Council Districts, he will attempt to sidestep blame by extrapolating with twisted, snowflake math that the problem was neither caused, nor made worse, by him, despite his spending as much time in LA City Hall as any other elected official in most of our lifetimes. 

Except for the inconvenient fact that disease, poverty and homelessness has grown exponentially on his watch more than anyone else’s. It is Eric Garcetti’s latest shameful cross to bear. 

With President Trump having a week that even CNN tainted as a success, the Democrats are in desperate need of a leader who can become a credible candidate to challenge him in 2020. They aren’t going to select Garcetti who, to date, is the only birdie who hasn’t grown up and flown the City Hall coop. So, he has failed LA as Mayor, now flailing as an absentee one, and he is utterly delusional about his place in the national political discourse, despite his groveling for media attention to get in on it. 

Garcetti isn’t so much feigning a run for the presidency. He is once again running to be a future cabinet member, which he unsuccessfully attempted during the Obama administration, losing out to Julian Castro (then, Mayor of San Antonio) to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Obama’s other long-term HUD Secretary was Shaun Donovan. 

Since nobody in LA City Hall or the local media can directly reach Garcetti, perhaps a hash tag that becomes a nickname, such as #TyphoidEric, will catch his attention and get him to come back to LA, sit in City Hall and solve our problems, which now stunningly include typhus. 

Historically, only negative publicity worries Garcetti’s grinning prissiness into action. And even then, it’s rarely enough.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Join his mailing list or offer verifiable tips and story ideas at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.