@THE GUSS REPORT-Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo played a Joseph McCarthy-esque Pied Piper with his 14 law-making colleagues last week in which they pondered “taking names,” as it were, of all businesses that profit from President Donald J. Trump’s proposed border wall.
The idea also smacks of sheer hypocrisy, and has big exemptions for small businesses and individuals, which renders it useless for anything other than publicity and huge legal bills the city will incur when it eventually gets sued.
To start, Cedillo in his own words:
I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council request the City Attorney, with the assistance of the Bureau of Contract Administration, to prepare and present an ordinance directing prospective and existing contractors with the City of Los Angeles to disclose under affidavit whether they have any contracts for design, construction, supply, procurement, or other development related services regarding building any proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States of America.
Cedillo’s motion, which was seconded like lemmings by Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Curren Price, Jose Huizar and Council President Herb Wesson, is a not so veiled threat to businesses that if you work on the border wall, your business will suffer in the City of Los Angeles.
Cedillo’s ominous threat not only infers losing business from City Council, but that those businesses may also experience other City Hall hassles like difficulty getting permits for non-City-Hall-related business or suddenly changing the parking rules at your doorstep like Councilmember Paul Koretz was accused of doing near the campaign headquarters of his recent re-election opponent.
Cedillo, who was the only incumbent city official who had to go to a spring run-off to stay in office, wouldn’t answer my questions, such as why, if working on the border wall is so egregious, did he leave wiggle room for small businesses and individuals to work on it? If it’s immoral for one, why in Cedillo’s mind is it not immoral for all? It’s like being a little pregnant. Either it is, or it isn’t. And just how much money from them will wind up in Cedillo’s campaign coffers…or pocket?
And the hypocrisy goes all the way up to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s suite …
The LA Times quotes Garcetti as stating, “Angelenos have a right to know who they’re in business with on important city contracts.” But just a few weeks ago, City Council, with Garcetti’s blessing, took measures to prohibit businesses from asking job applicants about their criminal and salary histories.
This, from a Mayor whose staff regularly denies Public Records Act requests by declaring the public is better served with less disclosure than more. To Garcetti, disclosure is a one-way street.
And what about the workers who are employed by these businesses? Why doesn’t City Hall go full tilt and take names of anyone who gets a paycheck from those businesses, whether or not their job pertains to the border wall?
That, of course, would be silly and stupid, which are adjectives even the LA Times Editorial Board thinks apply here.
Most likely, this will fizzle out like City Council’s not-too-long-ago, immigration-related boycott of all things Arizona. Not so coincidentally, it was written by Cedillo’s predecessor, Councilmember Ed Reyes, and it was laden with porous exceptions and described – wait for it – as hypocrisy at that time by Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.
In both instances, the words were good only for grandstanding … until the cameras went away.
(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. Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.