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L.A. Commissioner Backs Up Mayor Garcetti

Sophia Li |
October 11, 2013 | 5:20 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Mayor Garcetti has come under fire for appointing many of his supporters to city commissions. (Paresh Dave/Neon Tommy)
Mayor Garcetti has come under fire for appointing many of his supporters to city commissions. (Paresh Dave/Neon Tommy)

Recently Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been the target of serious criticism for allowing a spoils system to dictate his appointments to city commissions, with his campaign supporters benefitting at the expense of other qualified candidates.

The criticism came from Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, who told the L.A. Times this week that “if the search [for commissioners] is limited to friends, family and donors of a mayor, that is too limited of a circle.”

Andrew Glazier, a member of the Los Angeles Fire Commission, defended Mayor Eric Garcetti against criticisms that he is not looking to the most qualified candidates for city commission appointments.

“It strikes me as a ridiculous assertion,” said Glazier, who was appointed by Garcetti two months ago. “What folks should be asking is: are there quality people on the commissions? And there are.”

Yet, Glazier falls within the inner circle of Garcetti's campaign donors, along with half of the 84 people Garcetti has appointed thus far to serve on city boards and commissions.

Another quarter of Garcetti’s appointees either fundraised or endorsed his campaign. Garcetti claims that shared goals and mindsets, not checkbooks, are responsible for the large number of supporters in positions of power.

READ MORE: State Of The Mayor: L.A. Residents Discuss Garcetti

While former member of the Library Commission Eduardo Tinoco agreed that a large factor in the mayor’s choices is what he has in mind for the direction of the commissions, he believes there may be some validity to the criticisms. Still, Tinoco thinks Garcetti has good intentions in choosing the people he has.

“I truly believe that Mayor Garcetti is trying to involve more Angelenos in local government,” said Tinoco, who is a librarian at USC’s Marshall School of Business. “[In] the letter that I received, telling me that he was replacing me, the mayor wrote, ‘In the spirit of giving more Angelenos and opportunity to serve their city...’”

Most of Garcetti’s appointees are new: he has replaced four of the five members on the city Fire Commission, four of the five members on the Library Commission, six of the seven members on the Airport Commission, and so on—almost all with supporters.

The practice of replacing a large number of commissioners and board members with supporters is nothing new: former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa replaced the exact same number of airport and fire commissioners as Garcetti and similar numbers for the other commissions when he went into office. 

Glazier, who has served as a deputy director at the local AmeriCorps affiliate City Year Los Angeles for four years, maintained that Garcetti’s appointments have the right qualifications for the job.

“Just because one is a supporter doesn’t mean one doesn’t have new ideas and experience,” Glazier said. 

Reach Staff Reporter Sophia Li here.



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