@THE GUSS REPORT-A bully is someone dumb enough to eventually pick on the wrong person and whose misbehavior is finally noticed by the right person.
The latter is what finally happened last week to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti when Joe Biden’s campaign distanced itself from him and told him to stay away from some final campaign events. It was in response to additional allegations of serial sexual harassment by Garcetti’s long-term right-hand man Rick Jacobs, whose accusers say Garcetti was present during the incidents, but who laughed them off and kept enabling Jacobs.
The Biden campaign did not buy Garcetti’s excuse of “I take seriously all allegations of harassment.”
That is malarkey, as Biden says, because if it was true, Garcetti would have launched an investigation with the very first allegation. He would not have waited for multiple highly credible accusers, including an LAPD officer assigned to Garcetti’s security detail and another sexual harassment lawsuit, which is often an act of last resort.
And Garcetti is no victim-by-association, either.
When Garcetti was Councilmember of LA’s 13th District and the LA City Council president, I had a meeting with him at his Hollywood Boulevard office. With me were women who had been City Hall appointees. They got handshakes from Garcetti while my extended hand got the awkward “pull-in” where he wanted a hug, but all he got was the handshake and a stinging slap on his right shoulder blade by my left hand; enough to snap him out of it. It is a move that Garcetti, who describes himself as “a straight-er version of Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” also makes with countless men before, during and after City Hall presentations.
While I am straight, I did not take Garcetti’s move personally. But it further demonstrates his propensity for awkward, inappropriate physical contact in non-social, business settings, much like similar accusations made against California State Senator Bob Hertzberg, who has been banned by the California Senate from hugging others in professional settings. It is not a stretch to imagine Garcetti titillated by the discomfort caused by Jacobs’ alleged serial sexual harassment of other men, both verbally and physically.
And then there is that pesky public records request by this column for computer-assisted police dispatch records that the LAPD keeps dodging, with Chief Michel Moore’s direct knowledge. If Garcetti takes every #MeToo allegation seriously, he should immediately order the LAPD to release those records in their entirety without redaction. Or perhaps the lawyers suing the City on behalf of one Jacobs/Garcetti accuser will subpoena them. NOTE: This column directed the LAPD to ensure the preservation of those records from accidental or intentional destruction, including disabling all automatic records destruction programs. Ignoring that order could wind up costing the taxpayers a bundle.
Garcetti is a bully because bullying takes many forms, whether by the junior high punk who picks on the new kid or the Mayor’s tightly wrapped passive-aggressiveness toward sexual harassment, which is nothing new at LA City Hall during his more than 20 years there.
Garcetti and those around him repeatedly show that the rules do not apply to them and the Biden campaign finally sat-up and took notice. Disinviting Garcetti from campaign events less than two weeks before Election Day, when all-hand- on deck is a real thing, must sting Garcetti badly.
It is a glaring condemnation of the Mayor.
Stay away for a while, will ya, is what the Biden campaign has told Garcetti. Go sit over there and we’ll be in touch at some point.
One media outlet says that these latest allegations have probably also put the kibosh on Garcetti serving in Biden’s Cabinet if he winds up winning, as though his incessant failures as Mayor of LA aren’t already enough to disqualify him.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, was runner-up for the 2020 Los Angeles Press Club journalism award for Best Online Political Commentary and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Cumulus Media, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Star News, Los Angeles Downtown News, and the Los Angeles Times in its Sports, Opinion and Entertainment sections and Sunday Magazine, among other publishers. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.