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‘I hate her’: Garcetti’s top aide mocked labor icon Dolores Huerta

Ana Guerrero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s top aide, disparaged labor icon Dolores Huerta in Facebook comments reviewed by The Times, saying “I hate her” and using a Spanish term that translates to “jealous old lady.”

Huerta was one of several prominent California leaders — including state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez and Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo — to be criticized in the private Facebook group.

In a statement Tuesday, Garcetti said he had asked Guerrero to “step away from her executive management responsibilities in the office.”

Guerrero, in a statement, said the comments were “offensive and wrong.” She said she wanted to “apologize to my colleagues at City Hall and anyone in my life who looks up to and depends on me to set an example for leadership.”

The messages were posted in 2016 and 2017 in a small private Facebook group called Solid Gold, which included Guerrero, the mayor’s chief of staff, and other Los Angeles city employees and friends of Guerrero.

In several cases, members of the group took photos of politicians and others off of other people’s Facebook and Instagram pages and reposted the images in Solid Gold. Derisive comments and mocking emojis followed.

The posts come amid growing scrutiny over the workplace culture in the mayor’s office, which already has been rocked by allegations that a top Garcetti aide sexually harassed men for years.

The Times reported last week on mocking or suggestive postings about others, including City Planning Director Vince Bertoni and a gathering of politicians that included City Controller Ron Galperin.

At that time, Guerrero, 50, issued a statement expressing remorse.

“These years-old posts were jokes between me and a small group of close friends, and they were never meant to be seen outside that context,” Guerrero said.

On Friday, Garcetti said he was disappointed by Guerrero’s posts in a private Facebook group and that she has “learned lessons” from the experience.

“Obviously, they’re wrong and I was disappointed to hear them,” he said. “But I know Ana. She’s an exceptional leader and thoughtful, caring friend and colleague, who I know has learned from those mistakes. She’s apologized, and we’re going to move forward.”

Huerta, 91, a co-founder of the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, wasn’t spared the derision of Solid Gold members, according to the posts newly reviewed by The Times.

Under a photo posted in 2016 of Huerta, Guerrero and three other people, Guerrero wrote, “I hate her. You hate her.”

Viejita envidiosa!,” Guerrero added, which translates to “Jealous old lady.”

Cecilia Cabello, a onetime Garcetti appointee, chimed in: “I can’t stand that old bag.” Linda Lopez, who formerly headed L.A.’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, wrote: “Has been.”

Efforts to reach Cabello and Lopez were unsuccessful Tuesday.

In an interview Tuesday, Huerta told The Times: “All of us on the front lines are used to having people say negative things about us. The growers used to call me all kinds of names. I think it just reflects badly on them when they have positions like the chief of staff of the mayor. It would seem they would have better ethics.”

Huerta said she never takes such comments personally, but wondered why Guerrero and others had time for such gossip, adding: “They are just staffers and they are not out there doing the work that needs to be done for the community.”

In 2017, a Solid Gold member reposted a campaign post from Durazo, former head of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, who was running for state Senate. In her campaign pitch, Durazo wrote: “I am not asking you to send me to Sacramento. I am asking you to come with me to the state Capitol.”

Guerrero posted an emoji of a cartoon red-faced person with the word ¡Guacala!, which translates to “gross.”

A photo of cupcakes that showed Cedillo’s face on top of them also drew comments on Solid Gold. “Who wants a cupcake?!” a Solid Gold member wrote.

Guerrero responded by posting an image of a beast emoji throwing up.

“It’s a disservice to the mayor and his high standards,” Cedillo said Tuesday after viewing the photos and comments. “We have a lot of problems in the city and I think that’s where the attention should be paid.”

Comments about Pérez were posted in November 2017 under a story about potential political seats being filled, which featured a photo of Pérez. Guerrero posted the red-faced cartoon character with the word ¡Guacala!, and Cabello posted an image of Jabba the Hutt from “Star Wars.”

“This is no different from the way Donald Trump referred to Rosie O’Donnell in disparaging ways,” Pérez, the former Assembly speaker and chair of the UC Board of Regents, said Tuesday. “When people have a propensity to write things of this nature in a private group, it raises the question of what conversations they have and how it affects their decision-making.”

Asked about the Solid Gold postings, Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor and former head of the city’s ethics commission, said: “It brings back memories of horrendous high school. But this is the administration of the second biggest city in America.”



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