Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina said Tuesday she would give up part of her salary if elected to a seat on the City Council, part of a larger critique of her opponent's handling of financial issues.
In a mailer sent by her campaign and filed with the L.A. Ethics Commission, Molina called the city's budget "a mess" and promised to cut her council salary by 50%, with proceeds going to pay for other city services. Molina said she made the commitment, in part, because she expects to receive a pension of roughly $90,000 from the county this year.
"I don’t want to be double dipping," said Molina, one of four people seeking to unseat Councilman Jose Huizar in the March 3 election.
Council members receive a yearly salary of $184,600, according to the City Controller's office.
Huizar campaign consultant Parke Skelton criticized Molina's approach. It's "a problem," he said, for elected officials to be earning pay from one government job while receiving retirement income from another.
"Even a half salary [of a council member] is what anyone would consider a full-time salary," he said. "So my position would be that she shouldn’t be taking a pension if she is working full time for the city."
The Molina mailer, a copy of which was posted on the Ethics Commission website Tuesday, took aim at other spending issues. Molina promised to spend less on her staff than Huizar and said there would be "no more scandalous legal costs" if she is elected to represent the Eastside district.
The city paid $185,000 last year to settle a lawsuit filed by a former police officer whose car was hit by Huizar’s city-owned SUV. The council also voted last year to pay up to $200,000 to cover Huizar’s legal defense after a former aide alleged he engaged in sexual harassment. A settlement in the case was later reached at no additional cost to the city.
Skelton said he hadn't seen the mailer and was not prepared to comment on the assertions about Huizar's lawsuits. He also argued Huizar's staff is configured in a way to best serve his constituents.
Huizar has three field offices: one in Boyle Heights, one in El Sereno and one in Eagle Rock. "He wants a high level of community engagement and service," Skelton said.
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