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Fri, Feb

I’m Going to Miss Gloria Molina

THE EASTSIDER - It’s sad that too many Angelenos don’t really remember Gloria Molina. So here’s a short goodbye to the last Los Angeles politician who really did her job and didn’t give a care for 15-0 politicians or unamious Board of Supervisors votes.In fact, she called them what they are. 

As I wrote on her 2015 election loss to slimeball Jose (God’s Gift to the Eastside) Huizar, it deserves a quote here. 

“As a lifetime small ‘d’ grassroots democrat, I can safely state that Gloria Molina was just that, to the discomfort of our establishment democratic party. Even better, she just didn’t care what the establishment thought, truly earning the characterization of a maverick. 

After a stint on the LA City Council (CD1), she went on to a very full career on the LA County Board of Supervisors from 1991 to 2014, courtesy of term limits not being imposed until 2002 on a non-retroactive basis. 

My personal interactions with the Supervisor date back to the 90s, when I ran a couple of Commissions for LA County, its Employee Relations Commission, and its Civil Service Commission. Long story short, there are two or three things I can say about Gloria Molina from those days.  

First, Department Heads and key executives in the County were terrified of having to show up at the Board meetings when she wanted them to appear, usually with good reason. Second, her staff was almost fanatical in their personal loyalty to her, also with good reason. Third, and my personal impression from various California Democratic Party events, is that the establishment Democratic party did not like her one whit. 

For Molina’s part, the only reason she left the Board of Supervisors was that she was finally termed out in 2014. That’s when she set her sights on one Jose Huizar, and his 2015 campaign for re-election to CD 14. 

For a really good LA Times article on who Gloria Molina is, check out this one by Abby Sewell written as the Supervisor was leaving office.” 

While working for the County, I was called on to personally attend a Board of Supervisors meeting two or three times, generally as a front for highly placed executives. I don’t know if she knew all the insides of the County bureaucracy that well, but she was forceful and up-front.  More than I can say about the current Board of Supervisors and their outside/inside private County Counsel - Skip Miller. 

Anyhow, in 2020, I bemoaned the LA City electoral loss of a maverick (read honest) politician like Gloria Molina to a scumbag who still isn’t in jail even though he’s guilty. That’s right, Jose Huizar, and you can find the full article here. 

“Back in 2015, stakeholders in CD14 missed their only real opportunity to get rid of God’s Gift to the Eastside (now a pled-out criminal) Jose Huizar. So I’m going to engage in a little “what if” wishful thinking, and go back to the 2015 election campaign pitting Jose Huizar against Gloria Molina. 

In a legitimate race with a decent turnout, I believe that Gloria Molina would have won. And if she did, believe me the LA City Council and our current Mayor would not have been able to get away with half of the slimy things they do every single day while pretending to represent the governed. 

15-0 votes would have been 14-1 with a serious and vocal reason for the nay vote. As for land use graft, there is no question in my mind that Gloria Molina would have ratted out the rats. Consequences be damned. 

Instead, look at the mess we are in, with further indictments likely, and with who-knows-who-else who will give up someone in the City to save themselves. 

For these reasons, I miss Gloria Molina and the basically rigged 2015 Council election that denied her a runoff. 8.6% voter turnout indeed. The City of Angels is less for her loss five years ago.” 

She was one of a kind. She actually went out and met her constituents where they lived. Her staff returned calls quickly, she was unafraid to make unpopular decisions (mostly right) no matter the politics, and yes, I think she had a good time skewering the bureaucracy where all things die. 

I’ll miss her.

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)

 

Across CityWatch