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Monday, October 29, 2007

G-L-O-R-I-A

By now most of us have already forgotten Gloria Jeff and her $95,000 kiss goodbye (and click here for a pretty good Downtown News cartoon). But Gloria's parabolic career arc is worth revisiting, because it speaks volumes about the way the Mayor's closest advisers think: not in the interest of the public, but in the interest of the political. To me, nothing's Gloria's fault---it's not your fault when you're offered a job you have no prep for doing---and even a cursory glance at Ms. Jeff's career indicates she has no background whatsoever for making traffic flow better.

Which may have been the whole point of hiring her.

The first indication of buying a palette of damaged goods may have been the remoteness of Jeff to the City of Los Angeles. Most successful careers, if they go in any direction, go city/state/federal---in coming to LA, Ms. Jeff's went fed/state/city.

Her duties in the Clinton administration were far from the kind of duties that a City traffic chief gets: she was concerned with Interstate highways and commerce, ironically the precise roads that were off-limits to her purview in Los Angeles.

In Michigan, she took a state job that saw her fixing bridges and tunnels; things in Los Angeles that have been worked on ceaselessly since January 17, 1994. Things we basically already have wired, down to streetlighting.

No, the problem in LA as described by the last Mayor's race has been traffic congestion, and there was absolutely nothing on Jeff's c.v. that anticipated success with mitigating that.

Which is why, I think, Jeff was played as a bit of a stooge by Team Antonio.

With someone like Jeff in charge of the City's transit flows, it was easy to work at cross-purposes to her. The plan of Antonio's advisers has always been to hand the City over to developers, to make it more and more dense, to make it feel like a place it should never aspire to be, a congested, overpriced, oversaturated urban theme park. Antonio promised to make traffic better---but to do so while increasing density is impossible. So why not hire someone on which to pin the blame for traffic problems mid-term?

The dismissal of Jeff has been portrayed many ways: impulsive, racial, a question of competence. But I think it was none of those things; I think the very seeds for it were sewn when she was hired. Despite the voter's demand that traffic become better, Team Antonio knew which way the City was going to go---more congested, more dense, more bifurcated by class---and picked someone who didn't have a hope in hell, given her expertise in other areas, of making it any better.

Gloria Jeff wasn't incompetent, nor overpaid (on either end of her tenure), nor was she the wrong color. She was like an allergist who was asked to heal a dangeous foot problem. It looks like a doctor's a doctor, except to other doctors---and Gloria Jeff never was a traffic doctor, nor was she intended to be. Don't blame the allergist, blame the Chief of Staff who hired her.

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23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Man, there's a reason no one attacks the Chief of Staff.

Think about it.

October 29, 2007 12:37 PM  

Anonymous cosmo kramer (no relation) said:

Mr. Watch, historically, racial issues pitting our 12% African American community against the rest of the voters in town have been known to help a candidate more than hurt a candidate here in LA. Sad but true.

October 29, 2007 1:12 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

A little Van Morrison to go with the thread.

October 29, 2007 2:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

She was hired for the color of her skin. Period. MOST of this City's political positions are all about the color of the skin. In a government job, your best asset is the ability to kiss butt and conform. She apparently couldn't do that.

If one is not the "correct" color then all one needs to do is to kiss butt harder. Take note, the new DWP appointee, Nahai, who hasn't the expertise or knowledge to run the DWP. Yet, they claim that heading a committee somehow gives one the requisite experience. Hah, what fools.

October 29, 2007 2:32 PM  

Blogger joseph mailander said:

red spot, we go by the Patti Smith version in this household---but nice catch!

All the best,

j

October 29, 2007 3:56 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Joe,

RIGHT ON!! That is a classic version.

Godspeed,

Red Spot

BTW, you are on to something.

October 29, 2007 4:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is what happens in private and public enterprise when watchdogs are always shouting about how there aren't enough people of color, especially women, running things.

They aren't quiet until the hires are in proportion to the general public in both these things, and as a black woman (although not one who does credit to either her black or female sides), Jeffs was both.
There are those who felt she added to the transgender community's numbers, too, but no proof of that.

She came with glowing references from her job in Chicago, which they gave her just to get rid of her. As far from home as possible.

As long as watchdogs from ACLU to black to feminist to gay activist groups, demand hire by percentage in jobs, as with college admissions this sort of travesty will continue.

Stupid to blame the mayor and his team for what every employer is forced to do. But worse for Bernie and Perry to play the race card out loud, and encourage her to go for compensation. Bernie stokes the flames then volunteers to put them out, how convenient for him.

Now Perry wanted to do the same for Nihai, to have a national search to find a person, preferably female, of color. As though getting someone with no local track record would be better. (But of course you bozos have to attack the Mayor for that one, too -- local white guy or imported black woman, can't do nothing right. You guys are so transparent it's funny, no one cares anymore. So you could find real corruption somewhere and no one would listen.)

October 29, 2007 4:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Midget Mexican Mayor sure is a sneaky cholo, hiring a black woman only to fire her. And I thought Bush and Cheney were sneaky bastards. I guess the Mayor is right up there with the big boys.

The mayor should be in the white house, as sneaky as he is.

October 29, 2007 4:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Remember Guerdon Stuckey the GM of Animal Services which AV fired. He was a black man, who worked for a city, period. That's all Hahn cared about. He had no experience with animals, animal shelters at all. AV fired him then had to give him $50K to leave because Stuckey played the race issue and said the activists were mean to him.

Who does AV hire next? He looked for blacks or mexicans and found none who wanted the job. A billionaire offered AV $10,000,000 if he'd hire his friend. AV hired him, without doing a background check. In fact he agreed to hire him before he fired Stuckey. He just read a few positive yet false press releases. The billionaire was misled into believing this new guy would do a great job. He didn't realize the guy was a total fraud. No one bothered to check his references. They've since realized this so the billionaire never gave AV all the money.

The new GM is doing a bad job. He let 1/3 of all animals in the shelter, 900, die within two weeks from disease caused from overcrowding, and the Mayor doesn't care. This was in August, September 2007. The Mayor will back him up because Boks is the biggest ass kisser on the planet, and the biggest liar. He hands out misleading positive press releases like halloween candy touting his "success." The Mayor likes this, so he supports him.

In the end he will be fired, and then the GM will sue the City. He threatened to sue NY where he worked last a few times after smearing the Mayor and blaming his failure on his superiors. Is this just the way it goes in politics? How about hiring someone qualified with a history of true success instead.

October 29, 2007 5:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

ONLY 12% African Americans left inour city yet they have a out of porportion representation of GM's out every GM that has been let go, its ONLY the African Americans who gotton big pay outs. Why do you think this is so?

October 29, 2007 9:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mailander's theory is interesting but ultimately too steeped in conspiracy paranoia to be credible. What he says about Jeff is credible, what he says about why she was hired is not.

And the friggin' animals have nothing to do with it.

October 29, 2007 11:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jeffs did have the credentials to be the head of a transportation. But only having the technical knowledge of the subject does not mean one can be a manager (Peter principle at work here). If you can't get along with your assistant managers or your bosses (council and mayor) then no matter that you know traffic theory better than your replacement it's not going to keep your job. She had a poor history in Michigan (read the news accounts of how she got along with the legislature). What made AV think that she was going to be any different here?


He (AV) looked primaraly at skin cooler not the overall package. You can't do that affirmative action can't hide flaws.

I hope AV learns his lesson from this, but I doubt it.

October 30, 2007 12:11 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Mayor and his attorneys need to read up on the California State Labor laws and stop using tax payer dollars to pay off their stupidity. You can't wrongfully terminate an employee for no reason. There has to be documentation of their poor performance and results. Word is Jeff didn't have anything written up on her. How many minorities are in top positions with this mayor's administration? He can kiss the black vote goodbye.

October 30, 2007 5:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

554- Aren't these GM positions considered at-will employment?

October 30, 2007 6:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Councilwoman Perry released a PR about the new appointment.

Los Angeles—Councilwoman Jan Perry issued the following statement in response to
the Mayor's selection of David Nahai to fill the position of General Manager of the
Department of Water and Power (DWP):
"I look forward to learning more about David Nahai’s qualifications as we move through
the confirmation process. I will be conducting a rigorous and thoughtful review of this
candidate, looking at the board report and seeking public input as we proceed.”
“The Department of Water and Power is of vital importance to the City of Los Angeles
and the city council has an obligation to carefully review any candidate that is offered
this important and challenging role.”
Councilwoman Perry chairs the City Council’s Energy and the Environment Committee
which oversees the DWP.

October 30, 2007 8:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

gotta give it to Perry for at least questioning the appointment rather then sucking up like the rest of the morons on council at whatever Antonio does. Even "at will employees" have rights. Add to the fact that Jeff is a minority I'm sure the EEOC will want to know how and why she was terminated. If Antonio has a pattern of firing miniorities you can bet the State and Feds want to investigate and find out why.

October 30, 2007 11:04 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I used to work for Gloria Jeff. Villaraigosa may not be perfect, but I am sure he was perfectly justified in firing her.
It's not because she's black, it's not because she's a woman, it's not because she's incompetent, it's because she's absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to deal with rationally. There are not words for me to express how horrible it was working for her.

October 30, 2007 1:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

OK Antonio spinster you did your best to make your boss look ok for firing a female, minority employee without cause. Jeff could have gotten a lot more money if she went before a jury. How many people have been unjustly treated by the big boss and juries are very sympathic to that.

October 30, 2007 1:35 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Who is next to get whack ?

M-U-K-R-I ??

October 30, 2007 1:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Meanwhile the Council approved paying the same 95 thou to prevent one of Reyes' employees from suing, because he said something "inappropriate" on firing her. That was swept under the rug. So don't know if what he said was so bad, or just her threat to sue was enough to make them cave to protect him.

City employees should sign agreements for arbitration, waiving right to sue just like HMO victims are required to, and they don't have a choice. Only be allowed to sue in grievous cases that violate federal laws.

October 30, 2007 2:16 PM  

Anonymous Captain Jack Sparrow said:

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen (removes hat and bows low with flourish):

Before you sots jump all over us pirates, let us inform you that we have been rather busy. For the last week or so we've been very quietly skulking about as pirates do and consulting with various other like minded souls within the City proper. Armed with that information, we'd like to proffer up a possible target for the next dismissal. (Motions to crew to bring chest full of documents) Now, let's see what we have here. (Scans documents, looks up and throws down three quid and a pint of rum) We'll wager that one of the deputy mayors is next to go. If we're right, we're right. If not, we're only out three quid and a bottle of rum. (Takes sip of rum) And there's plenty more where THAT came from, savvy?

October 31, 2007 12:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It was just another political patronage job at 100k a pop. They hand these out like candy. She knew someone or was fucking someone. That was her only qualification. This is what our tax dollars are wasted on at every level of government -- city, county, and state.

I am laughing at the Haidl/Corona scandal. Hiring Haidl was no different than what the city pols do in LA. Each officer holder hires goons to do their dirty work. The only qualification is that they are willing to cross ethical boundaries. James Hahn had quite a few who were eventually disbarred.

October 31, 2007 4:46 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hahn holds the modern day record for having active scumbags in positions of power.

October 31, 2007 8:52 PM  

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