@THE GUSS REPORT-As 2020's COVID restrictiveness winds down to the imminent arrival of vaccines and a freer 2021, the consequences of California's lying, hypocritical politicians are evident as ever.
Governor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Mayor Eric Garcetti will go down in history as bumbling politicians and phonies with sinking re-election and future election prospects, assuming they survive ongoing recall chatter. Their do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do behavior during the pandemic continues trickling-down to their staffers.
For example, Garcetti's Emergency Management Department, EMD, recently invited dozens of city employees to a baby shower at work for one of its own and his wife. Dubbed the "DADiator Wars - Part 2," the lunchtime event was scheduled for this Wednesday in the courtyard at the Emergency Operations Center, according to two different invitations sent to this column.
But it is far worse than that as insiders say other key emergency personnel are based on the same or adjacent premises, including LAFD Fire Dispatch, Fire Station 4 and LAPD Communications.
Knowing Garcetti and City Council president Nury Martinez, this type of dangerous misconduct calls for only one response: raises!
But seriously, what if there was a COVID outbreak within those neighboring agencies?
If you think it can't happen, the New York Post this weekend reported that "a team of scientists using genetic sequencing found that between 205,000 and 300,000 coronavirus cases across the US are linked to a "super-spreader" medical conference in Boston."
But that super-spreader event took place way back in February when few on earth knew what we were facing. We have long-since learned to wash the hands, cover the face, and not take avoidable corona virus risks.
The EMD event, according to insiders, was approved by its General Manager Aram Sahakian. Responding to an email from this column, Mr. Sahakian did not address that question but wrote to say that he canceled the event before receiving my inquiry and voluntarily provided proof of the cancelation. We could also not determine whether the earlier baby shower events took place during the pandemic and, if so, under what restrictions.
EMD is well within the definition of essential workers. We are grateful for their efforts during a year in which the universal COVID pandemic was challenged locally only by super-spreader events like George Floyd-inspired riots that devastated communities across the United States. We understand why, during trying times, they may need to boost morale. But if my 13-year-old neighbor had to cancel her bat mitzvah party due to the corona virus, we would expect the same of those whose job it is to keep the rest of us safe.
Another insider tells this column that there are other problems within the walls of the city's emergency agencies, "the Emergency Operations Center also has costume theme days (and we find it) personally disgusting to have a dress-up when people are dying."
Perhaps the gallows humor is helpful to emergency personnel. Still, it is a bad image as it chips away at our confidence in these agencies which must be ready 24/7 for the next colossal earthquake, terror attack or mass shooting. We don't need the risk of them showing up on camera in Bozo and belly dancer outfits because the incident happens on a Friday.
With vaccines in transport as these words are typed, let's pause the parties until we are all safe, or at least have had the chance to accept or decline the vaccine. Because that is going to be the next big challenge; getting people to trust the government to tell us the truth and live by it.
And by "government," I'm talking about Newsom, Kuehl and Garcetti, whose collective credibility on virtually every issue could not be lower than it is right now.
(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.