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Monday, February 18, 2013

Times: Greuel may have missed red flags in fight against Home Depot

Public Advocate of the Community
UPDATE: Audio - Zuma Dogg tells story of chance meeting with woman alleged to be at center of alleged Wendy Greuel PR campaign against Home Depot.

Something I learned this week...always listen to Zuma Dogg.

Completely plugged in, even in retirement, and nearly always prescient, the former radio executive turned performance artist turned community advocate has really never steered me wrong.

Last week, ZD brought to my attention a story that I thought was irrelevant, old news and not likely to catch attention in the milieu of the Mayoral race.

I was wrong.

Today, the LA Times published a story that, in seeking to block a controversial Home Depot in Sunland-Tujunga, at the time part of her then City Council District, Greuel may have failed to disclose her business interests in a local building supply firm. 

Full disclosure, I was for the Home Depot before I was against it and currently live less than a quarter-mile from the site. I still believe, for many reasons, blocking the Home Depot was good for the community.

Co-Owner of Frontier Building Supply
Wendy Greuel, Candidate for Mayor
In the Times story by Jack Dolan, several ethics officials remark that Greuel should have recused herself from votes on the Home Depot matter. The story alludes the matter could come before the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

Greuel's position is that her business would not be affected by the Home Depot.

Beyond the surface level issue of Greuel's ownership of Frontier Building Supply, a San Fernando Valley based construction supply firm with a branch in Oxnard, Zuma Dogg presented additional potentially even more damaging allegations against Greuel.

In a blog post last week, reprinted from a 2011 post authored by Mr. Dogg, the advocate/blogger presents claims that City Hall insiders told him that Greuel allegedly hired a PR firm to assist her with the Home Depot fight.

It must be noted that these allegations are from anonymous sources and are not verified. We are happy to publish information to the contrary. That being said, the Times article is interestingly timely in light of the information Zuma presented to me last week and has published at his blog.

We will continue to follow this up and extend the offer right here to present any rebuttals from the Wendy Greuel campaign.

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21 Comments:

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Michael (Mayor Sam) is using "an abundance of caution," language in his presenting what I am saying about Greuel, cause he don't need legal bills. SO LET ME BE CLEAR AND EMPHATIC: NO anonymous source and not ALLEGED: During a chance meeting (as the icon has had 100s of times, Downtown, near City Hall), someone was excited to meet me and was telling me about a whole bunch of stuff. AT THE END of the conversation, she was quite proud that she was invited to Wendy's '09 inauguration, which is the day I met this lady. She mentioned she knew Wendy, because Wendy hired her to do ANTI-HOME DEPOT campaign in Sunland-Tujunga, and DID INDEED do the ANTI PR campaign. MONTHS LATER, I remembered Greuel OWNS FRONTIER SUPPLY -- and the "situation" took on a WHOLE new meaning. I rest my case.

February 18, 2013 11:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I smell jealousy over Wendy having a great city income and business ownership income.

The green eyed monster surfaces once again.

February 18, 2013 12:10 PM  

Blogger Joe said:

The only organization doing anti Home Depot campaigning in Sunland-Tujunga was the No Home Depot Campaign. There was never any PR firm hired by Wendy or anyone else.

It is beyond ridiculous to even suggest there was any conflict of interest by Wendy representing and fighting for our community. Her family's store was 9 miles away.

The LA Times reporter contacted me for this non story well over a month ago.

Nice try fellas.

Joe Barrett
Sunland-Tujunga Alliance
and former head of the No Home Depot Campaign

February 18, 2013 12:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Joe Barrett -

If Higby or Zuma (well I guess he did) report this BEFORE the Times, I'd agree with you it's a non-story. I guess Higby was accidentally smart to not break it first and look like an idiot, though he probably thinks he's an idiot the Times beat him to the punch. Dolan reporting this gives this more legs that you and the Greuel people could have kicked out from under the table were it just Michael and Zuma.

Wendy is going to have to deal with this and Eric, Jan, Kevin James are going to blast it out. More distraction for her campaign.

It would be cynical to claim the Times is doing this because they hate Greuel or are carrying Eric's water. I have a feeling Dolan is holding something back. Fortunately for Wendy, he may not have the time to get it out there before the election.

We really appreciated the work you did on Home Depot and we used a lot of it on the golf course in Studio City. Don't be surprised someday if Wendy didn't open all her books to you. It's happened before.

February 18, 2013 12:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why didn't Pigby mention the quid pro quo stuff in Zuma's blogs?

February 18, 2013 12:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sad

February 18, 2013 2:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Michael,
Aren't you now on the board of the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council? Isn't this something that you could ask them about as to whether the story has merit (either the Times or the Zuma)? I'm not sure you are doing your community any favors here. This all looks like a bad attempt at a hit piece on Wendy Greuel.

February 18, 2013 5:15 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

I don't care if y'all make comments insulting me. However, try not to use slurs in your comments. For example, the person who used the "R" word had a perfectly valid otherwise question (subject to debate of course but still would be allowed). Repost it without that, and we'll approve it.

February 18, 2013 5:19 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

5:15, it would not be appropriate for the Neighborhood Council to comment or speculate on news stories on political candidates.

As far as a "hit piece" on Wendy Greuel, that's in the eye of the beholder. It's an LA Times article, not a Jan Perry mailer (as we showed the other day and you did not, as far as I know, make the same statement) as well as a post by another blogger.

I don't think it's any secret here that Scott and I both are of the view that a Wendy Greuel administration would be a disaster. So don't do a Captain Renault and be shocked there is political criticism going on at MayorSam.

As far as doing my community any favors, I don't know what you mean as the allegations are against Wendy, not anyone in Sunland0-Tujunga. More importantly, it is my view, viz a viz the previous paragraph, that I am absolutely doing both my neighborhood AND my city a favor by exposing our concerns about Wendy Greuel.

February 18, 2013 5:24 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Anyway - this story has proven as much of a distraction to me as it probably has to the Greuel campaign. I have been working on another story related to Greuel; but apparently beyond my control, this one has legs.

I guess Zuma was right to get mad at me for ignoring it last week.

February 18, 2013 5:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm not talking about placing a motion before the Neighborhood Council regarding this story, I'm suggesting that you speak with members of the Council who may have been present during this time period for their opinion. Whether you like Wendy Greuel or not is not the point, both the Zuma podcast and this Times story reek of yellow journalism. If you support that sort of approach, then that says much about your own character and the credibility of this blog. Have a nice day.

February 18, 2013 5:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why would Michael need to talk to the Neighborhood Council about this? What arrogance. Are you on the Neighborhood Council? What he should have done was talk to Greuel's people first. I don't think he did that.

With respect to yellow journalism, I don't think you understand the term. One can disagree about the impact of what the Times and Zuma are both claiming. This is not just made up stuff.

February 18, 2013 5:43 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

"Yellow Journalism?" "Hit Piece?" Has ZD only blogged about ONE person? The reason this is important, is because you have an elected official who hired an outside PR firm, to tilt economic interests in her outside private life. GIMME A BREAK. AND, I'm told, you kinda HAD to use Froniter Supply in CD 2, for project approvals. EXCUSE ME IF I THINK THIS IS REALLY BAD TRAIT FOR MAYOR? I said PLENTY on Jan Perry and Grand Ave Project, including an LA Weekly article; invented the word, "Garshady," -- and no one is fooled by your attempt to diminish an issue that resonates with REAL PEOPLE.

February 18, 2013 5:47 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

I actually did have some private, off the record conversations as you have suggested. This was at the time I spiked the story for MayorSam last week and I did not get the same argument you are making however. That's okay. Folks can disagree on things. Once the Times and Zuma Dogg ran this story, we really had to go with it. We have competition and we like to be first on City news. We are not a Neighborhood Council or a charity but a news source. And our primary mission is to shine sunshine on local politics. So, yea, this story is subjecting me to a few nasty emails and gripes from friends (as well as positive comments too) but it's out there, it is what it is. This is the job we are here to do. Please read through the whole blog. You will find that Wendy Greuel is not the only politician that is being critiqued.

Quite frankly, I kind of wish this wasn't a story because the people in ST did a great job beating Home Depot and it was a while ago. There are other stories about Wendy Greuel that impact a whole lot more people.

February 18, 2013 5:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zuma,
You are making wild claims with no proof except that "a woman told you so". Joe Barrett says in his comment that there was no PR firm hired by Greuel. Now, I'm pretty sure he was present during this whole thing and would know, don't you agree? Or are you calling him a liar as well?

February 18, 2013 5:56 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

February 18, 2013 5:56 PM,

With all due respect, I don't think Wendy put, "to hire outside PR firm to protect personal family business," at any NC/public meetings on the issue, so I would not expect Joe to know. I'm not calling anyone anything. You try to discount/diminish by saying, "a woman told me so." Yes, it was a woman, and she did tell me so. You can choose to believe it's not true. That's what an election is for, and no one has ever gotten 100% of any vote, yet. Did Wendy even disclose she owned Frontier Supply during the YEARS of meetings, or was it a secret?

February 18, 2013 6:50 PM  

Blogger Joe said:

Uh, Mr. Dogg,
Wendy often mentioned Frontier Building Supply during the Home Depot fight. She did so publicly at many events.

Whoever told you she hired a pr firm to fight Home Depot is incorrect.I have had many meetings with Wendy as the head of the No Home Depot campaign (not as a NC member) and, frankly, I would have known if there was a PR firm operating in our community that was fighting Home Depot. I can assure you that there was not. Your source is incorrect.

February 18, 2013 8:56 PM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

To be honest, Wendy leaving her Council seat early to become Controller showed both craftiness, foresight, and a level of contemptuous indifference that should have worried voters.

She's actually 100% responsible for the voters of District 2 having to deal with The Dark Lord for their Council Services.

If there were any justice in this world, political karma would bite back and incinerate her career at a temperature of 5778 Kelvin.

However, this is corrupt Los Angeles politics, where Fredo Alarcon can be under indictment for 2 years yet never go on trial.

People do not get what they deserve.
The wicked go unpunished.

Wendy will make the runoff, and win the election.

February 18, 2013 10:47 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

I wonder if Wendy is worried now that Phil is predicting she will win. LOL

February 19, 2013 12:08 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Michael, Naw...I'm gonna VOMIT. Not only cause Phil is right, for first time every (LOL, Hi, Phil ;) - but cause he's right. It's an immutable shady force. Bill Clinton wants Wendy to be mayor. He'll go "Vignali Pt 2" if someone/something needs to be cleared outta the way. Cuomo, too. Let's just try to keep her from becoming Vice President of U.S.A.

Never underestimate a psychopath. (Just look at me, for example.)

February 19, 2013 3:18 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Michael, look at the wording on "Abby's" letter. These two are REALLY providing a lot of sad comedic entertainment: "To suggest... is absurd." (A full article in L.A. Times, with many folks calling Greuel's ethics (at minimum) into question; quite frankly, rises above "absurd," to "valid question," if nothing else.

"...and yet Greuel, now running for mayor..." (Did Wendy write this, give it to Joe, and make him have Abby sign her name. LOL! Yeah, gotta work in the infomercial, to mention, "who is now running for mayor," as though that is not extraneous/superfluous/shameless plug.

"We wanted to protect our community, our businesses and our children." (Oh, now it is CERTAIN, and ABSURD to think otherwise, quite frankly, Wendy wrote this for Joe to make Abby sign, cause it's got the TELL-ALL, giveaway...GOTTA USE CHILDREN TO CLOAK THE ISSUE. DON'T YOU PEOPLE GET IT...WENDY WAS PROTECTING CHILDREN!!! DON'T YOU SEE IT.

"Greuel was a great City Council member...' (WHAT!?!? SHE WAS GREAT!?!?) I challenge a market research firm to poll CD 2 residents -- EVEN OF THOSE WHO SUPPORT WENDY who feel she was, "GREAT?" LOOK AT THE RESULTS? LOOK AT THE DISTRICT? LOOK AT THE DECADE OF DECLINE. This is starting to sound CULTISH!

"...and Sunland-Tujunga residents still remember her sticking up for us." NO SUCKER. You remember her protecting her personal economic interests, who used her position as an elected official, and JOE/ABBY to tilt economic scales, and she hired a PR firm to run HIT campaign on Home Depot.

DAMN, I guess if Wendy was pulling strings behind Joe's back, he wasn't solo Superman. Maybe Joe/Abby feel if all of this is true (and, again, LA Times don't do a full story on "ABSURD" to vet. I imagine Joe at age 8, having teenagers tell him, "Santa's not a real thing," and having him EXPLODE defending Santa, "YES HE IS! Quite frankly, he lives in the North Pole, and that's why you haven't seen him. To suggest Santa isn't real is, quite frankly, ABSURD. I woke up on Xmas, and there were presents under the tree. HOW do you think THAT happened?"

WEDNY IS SANTA TO JOE. LOL! Oh wow, how sad folks ENTIRE identity in life is defined by Wendy Greuel. WOW did SHE win THAT battle of souls.

February 20, 2013 11:38 AM  

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