Emily Gabel-Luddy knows a lot about politics — she has seen how politics
works from inside Los Angeles City Hall as a high-ranking planner, and
her husband, Bill, is West Coast political director for the United
Brotherhood of Carpenters.
But nothing prepared her for the education she’s gotten in the last few months while running for Burbank City Council.
to voters put her in touch with the concerns of people struggling in a
difficult economy: a woman who had to take in a boarder to pay the rent,
a couple that had to close up shop because business had tailed off,
people all over the city whose concerns are invisible until you’re out
in the community campaigning for votes.
“I’m in a transition
phase from being a public servant in one role to another,” she said over
a salad at Lancer’s as the city clerk’s office was preparing to certify
her narrow victory in Tuesday’s runoff victory over Police Commissioner
“I have so much to learn, so much I don’t know. Listening to voters was a real education,” she said.
of the educating Emily story was how big-city politics came to Burbank
with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 — which
claims only 138 members from Burbank Water and Power, and yet which
dumped more than $42,000 into an independent expenditure committee in
support of Frutos. The union spent $18,000 to help re-elect Gary Bric in
“They mailed out hit pieces saying I was somehow
connected to Big Oil, bank executives and Big Development, that this was
behind the agenda I was going to set for the city. It didn’t make any
sense,” Gabel-Luddy said. “I talked to voters, I said, ‘Gee, I’ve been
on the planning commission for 10 years. You know where I stand. There’s
10 years of videos you can watch to see who I am.’”
What’s going on with IBEW Local 18 is no small concern to residents of both Burbank and Glendale.
union is led by Brian D’Arcy, an untouchable figure in L.A. politics
who has used threats of closing down that city’s water and power systems
if he didn’t get contracts with raises of up to 6% in good times and as
much as 4% even in these hard times.