LA mayor’s top aide put on leave over insulting media posts

La Mayor’s Top Aide Put On Leave Over Insulting Media Posts
Ashley Landis

FILE - In this May 24, 2021, file photo, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at a news conference at Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles. The top aide for Garcetti is on leave for mocking California politicians and saying she hated labor icon Dolores Huerta. Garcetti said Tuesday, June 22, 2021, that his chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, will "step away" from her responsibilities.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mayor Eric Garcetti’s chief of staff has been placed on leave after mocking California politicians and saying she hated labor icon Dolores Huerta in years-old social media posts.

Ana Guerrero was asked to “step away from her executive management responsibilities so that she can make things right with the people addressed in these comments,” Garcetti said in a statement Tuesday.

She will be on administrative leave “for the foreseeable future, unpaid for a month,” Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said.

The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday reported that Guerrero and others made insulting comments about various people in 2016 and 2017 in an invitation-only Facebook group called Solid Gold that included other Garcetti appointees, city employees and friends. The newspaper didn’t indicate how it had obtained or reviewed the posts.

One 2016 post included a photo of Huerta, the 91-year-old co-founder of the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez that fought for better working conditions for agricultural laborers. Under the photo, Guerrero wrote, “I hate her. You hate her,” adding, “Viejita envidiosa!” which is Spanish for “Jealous old lady,” the Times reported.

The Times said members of the group made disparaging comments about various politicians and officials, including state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, City Council member Gil Cedillo and University of California Board of Regents chairman John Pérez.

“These comments were offensive and wrong, and I deeply regret making them,” Guerrero said in a statement Tuesday. “There is no excuse — and to anyone who was the subject of these posts, I am deeply sorry for the pain they caused.”

Guerrero apologized to her City Hall colleagues and “anyone in my life who looks up to and depends on me to set an example for leadership.”

Garcetti’s statement said the mayor had just learned about the postings, which he said “do not reflect the values that I expect from members of my administration.”

“I am a big believer in second chances and in teachable moments of both growth and reconciliation,” Garcetti added. “Ana has been an important part of the work we have done at City Hall and has exceptional talents, and it is my hope that she can grow from this experience.”

Huerta told the Times that “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,” she said. “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.”