“I hate her. You hate her.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has placed his chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, on unpaid leave after reports surfaced that she had talked trash about labor icon Dolores Huerta and other power players in a private Facebook group.
In a note to staffers on Thursday morning, Garcetti announced that recently retired City Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn would return to City Hall and serve as Guerrero’s temporary replacement.
The move comes after The Los Angeles Times reviewed several Facebook posts from Guerrero, which reportedly included “sexual innuendo and disparaging comments.”
According to the Times, “The messages were posted in 2016 and 2017 in a private Facebook group called ‘Solid Gold,’ which included Guerrero and other Los Angeles city employees and friends.”
The outlet reported, “In several cases, members of the group took photos of politicians and others off of other people’s Facebook and Instagram pages and reposted them; derisive comments and mocking emojis followed.”
A spokesman for the mayor said Garcetti was not part of the group and that Guerrero would be on “administrative leave for the foreseeable future, unpaid for a month.”
Guerrero’s most high-profile target was reportedly Huerta, now 91, who co-founded the United Farm Workers with César Chávez.
The Times reported:
Under a photo 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.”
Huerta had supported Garcetti’s opponent in the 2013 mayoral race when he ran against Wendy Greuel, a fellow Democrat. Guerrero reportedly made inappropriate remarks about other Democrats who had backed Greuel, including state Sen. María Elena Durazo, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez, and L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo.
On Tuesday, Garcetti said he had requested Guerrero “step away from her executive management responsibilities in the office so that she can make things right with the people addressed in these comments.”
Guerrero, the daughter of migrant farmworkers, provided a statement to The Times apologizing for the posts, calling them “offensive and wrong.”
“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,” she said.
The Times broke the story about Guerrero’s involvement with the Facebook group last week. Still, she didn’t go on administrative leave until a follow-up article revealed her comments about Huerta.
More details from the L.A. Times:
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 gossip, adding: “They are just staffers, and they are not out there doing the work that needs to be done for the community.”…
Huerta said Garcetti called her Tuesday, but she was in a meeting. He left a voicemail “apologizing and saying how much he loves and respects me,” Huerta told The Times.
Cecilia Cabello, a former aide to Garcetti, was also identified as a member of the Facebook group and stepped down from the City Council Redistricting Commission this week. According to the Times, she had referred to Huerta as an “old bag.”