Well known as the mayoral candidate who is easiest to manipulate, Wendy Greuel one minute says employee unions were treated unfairly when pension reforms were imposed on them by the mayor and council without negotiations.
And then the next minute says the reforms were insufficient so she will go back to the bargaining table and get more concessions from the unions that are pouring millions of dollars into her campaign.
It’s hard to know minute to minute which Wendy Greuel is speaking or for that matter whether she even cares anymore whose words she is mouthing as long as she gets the support and money from those who matter.
People like Dick Riordan who stepped onto the stage Wednesday to bolster Greuel’s campaign as it wobbled on her vacillations and evasions on policy and her submission to the labor unions trying to retain ownership of the mayor’s office even as it tightens its iron grip on the council.
“I will help bring labor and business together to save the city,” Riordan said in announcing he will work for $1 a year as her senior adviser if she wins.
This is the same guy who a few weeks ago endorsed Kevin James in the primary saying he was “the only one running” who would keep the city from bankruptcy. “The others can’t possibly run our city well because they can’t make major pension changes. They are owned by the unions.”
This is the same guy who a few weeks earlier had taken his failed campaign for pension reform to the council only to be publicly mocked and humiliated by the ultimate union stooge Council President Herb Wesson.
I know and respect Dick Riordan well but he’s just kidding himself and us acting like Brian D’Arcy and other union leaders are going to agree to cut salaries and sharply reduce pension costs to the point that bankruptcy can be averted, services restored and the infrastructure repaired.
Throughout his time as mayor, Riordan’s biggest weakness was trying to salvage political defeats by agreeing to things he hates and calling it pragmatism instead of taking his case to the public and fighting for what he knows is right.
I also know and respect former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg well but he too was just kidding himself and us in sending out an email blast Wednesday to try to stave off a rebellion from the business community over Greuel’s flip-flops on pensions and the city budget and her humiliating promise to “stand with labor, not stand up to labor.” (Hertzberg-Greuel)
Saying he became co-chair of Greuel’s campaign because of “her authenticity, her passion and drive for excellence in city government, coupled with her proven ability to deliver tangible results for the residents of L.A.,” Hertzberg called her “the best candidate to lead our city into a new direction — one that that has its fiscal house in order, brings businesses back, and establishes Los Angeles as a hub for economic opportunity and growth once again.”
The email, headlined “Setting the record straight!,” blamed the press for Greuel’s gaffes and total failure to take a clear and detailed position on a single issue of importance.
Despite what the press is reporting, Wendy does NOT want to roll back any pension reforms enacted by the City. It’s quite the opposite. Wendy strongly believes that these so-called reforms did not go far enough to address the structural problems in our pension system.
She believes we need real pension reform — not costly political gimmicks.
So what is Greuel’s plan?
“She wants to explore raising the retirement age for current employees, and scaling employee contributions based on when workers enter the pension system. Other changes, like banning “pension spiking” and “double dipping” will also help save millions.”
If she is such “a strong leader, straight talker and honest broker” as Hertzberg describes why can’t she speak for herself and say exactly what she intends to do and how she will achieve it — or is it enough that somebody speaks for her commitment to “explore” her options when the time comes?
Contrary to Hertzberg’s assertion that “business and labor rarely agree on anything,” the truth is they agree on almost everything these days like the miserable sales tax increase that voters just rejected.
When good men like Dick Riordan and Bob Hertzberg settle for the lesser of two evils at a time of crisis and can only argue that they have more influence over Greuel than Eric Garcetti because she is easier to manipulate, then you have to wonder whether they are standing up for us — or for themselves.