For raw courage and integrity in an era in which there is a near total breakdown at all levels of American democracy, it is hard to beat Wendy Greuel.
For a former city staffer, former Council member, current Controller and top fund-raiser for the office of Mayor in 2013 to call on her colleagues in elected city offices to resign with her to end the “waste, fraud and abuse” at City Hall is the boldest and noblest act we have seen in the city’s modern political history.
City has experienced a wave of fraud, waste and abuse, which causes
great concern,” Greuel said in her press release on city letterhead, sent from a city email address and created and paid for on city-paid staff time.
“There are allegations of illegal
activities and misappropriation of City resources occurring in the
Department of Building and Safety, the Department of Transportation, and
theft at the City’s Animal Shelters. We must guard the City against
this type of abuse, particularly if the abuses are systemic.”
Oh, I’m sorry, I misread her press release and letter (Greuel-Zine.pdf) to her partner in crime, Councilman Dennis Zine, the man she is nakedly working to help succeed her in high office when she becomes mayor, asking him as head of the Audits Committee to work with her to clean up City Hall.
I should have known when she said that she was shocked and dismayed to “recently” discover the corruption she has been part of for so long and that it was ”systemic.”
How could anyone who spent their lifetime in the city’s political sewer be surprised to find the little people were cheating and stealing — something they only do when they see the big people cheating and stealing?
Jill Stewart, the local news guru at the LA Weekly, saw through it right away, asking: “Where are her cojones when it comes to
actually outing the bad apple departments, bad apple divisions and bad apple
individuals at City Hall … Wendy Greuel is not a stupid woman, so what’s
I’ll tell you what the problem is: These people have gotten away with waste, fraud and abuse for so long with the full support of what passes for the city’s establishment and the city’s apathetic electorate that they no longer know the difference between right and wrong.
Insanity is their only defense.
They have no moral compass. You could shoot truth serum into their veins, wire them to a lie detector, swear them to tell the truth on the lives of their lovers and children and to a man and woman they would answer every question about their own role in corrupting the city’s political processes in the negative and pass without flying colors.
They are sociopaths without consciences, without a moral compass. It’s what happens to people surrounded by armies of taxpayer-paid sycophants who collaborate with them all day long to invent narrative fictions that have nothing to do with realities. After a while, they come to believe their own lies and the applause of everyone around them, including the fat cats who profit from their corruption and the voters who get down on their knees and praise them for small favors the way peasants kowtow to kings.
“Without strengthening the City’s enforcement and controls to decrease the
incidences of fraud, waste and abuse, the City is placing itself at risk. We carmot simply maintain
the status quo,” Greuel declares in her letter to the duplicitous and dangerously ambitious hypocrite Zine.
Training, communication, reforms, outreach — those are her prescription for fixing what is so badly broken and has been throughout her years of public service.
“I look forward to continuing to work
with you,” she writes Zine, “to implement these ideas to prevent
and abuse and to increase reporting and to stop
the misuse and abuse of City resources.”
As the Weekly’s Jill Stewart observed:
If Greuel or any of her cohorts want to end
the corruption, they need to stand up in public and talk about all the actions
and all the votes they participated in that were nothing but favors for special
interests, that established that waste, fraud and abuse were the very culture
of City Hall.
They could then announce they were resigning for the good of the city.