Mayor Says “NO” to $2.7-million Dog Food Settlement
By Jennifer Solis
In an amazing response to Los Angeles taxpayer complaints, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has vetoed the rubber stamp payout to the former fire fighter who ate a couple of spoons of dog food two years ago.
The Mayor Sam Sister City Blog was the first to editorialize against the $2.7-million settlement with Tennie Pierce ten days ago, and since then, a ground swell of protest has forced the city to reconsider the city attorney’s lack of courage to fight the claim.
It will take ten city council votes (two-thirds of the 15 members) to override the mayor’s veto. On November 8th, the council members heard a short presentation on the claim in executive session, and voted 11-1 to approve the payout – Councilman Dennis Zine dissenting. Later, Councilman Bill Rosendahl joined Zine in a move for reconsideration which failed 6-6.
Last week, more than a dozen photographs of fireman Pierce participating in even more egregious pranks at the Westchester station surfaced on the Internet. These photos had been in the possession of the city attorney’s office for several months, but were not included in an assistant’s informative to city council members prior to the first council vote.
At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Villaraigosa stated that all such hazing within the fire department, and other city departments, must cease immediately. He said that, in view of the new information (the photographs) the city attorney must take a closer look at the claim. Pierce’s lawyer had originally asked for about $5-million, and the threat of a “downtown” jury sustaining this claim was a factor in the settlement.
A popular drive-time radio show, John & Ken, appealed to its listeners to send dog food to the city council members who voted for the payout. Current and retired members of the fire department also bombarded the media with protests.