‘I hate her’: Garcetti’s top aide put on leave after mocking labor icon Dolores Huerta

Ana Guerrero
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Chief of Staff, Ana Guerrero, shown in 2017, has been placed on administrative leave.
(Josh Lefkowitz / Getty Images)

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 California leaders — including state Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), 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, his chief of staff, to “step away from her executive management responsibilities in the office so that she can make things right with the people addressed in these comments.” Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said Guerrero will be on “administrative leave for the foreseeable future, unpaid for a month.”


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 private Facebook group called “Solid Gold,” which included Guerrero and other Los Angeles city employees and friends. Garcetti wasn’t a member of the group, his spokesman has said. 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.

Word of the posts comes amid growing scrutiny over the workplace culture in the mayor’s office, which has been rocked by allegations that another top Garcetti aide sexually harassed men for years. Those allegations have generated much attention amid reports that Garcetti is expected to be nominated by the Biden administration to become the U.S. ambassador to India.

The Times reported last week on mocking or suggestive postings in the Solid Gold group about others, including L.A. Director of Planning 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.

After The Times first reported about the Facebook group, Garcetti said he was disappointed by Guerrero’s posts, but she had “learned lessons” from the experience. After Tuesday’s report, he indicated that she would go on administrative leave.


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

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.”

Cecilia Cabello, a onetime Garcetti employee, 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, who was appointed by Garcetti to serve on the city’s Redistricting Commission, 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.”

Garcetti chief of staff Ana Guerrero said she regrets posting certain private Facebook messages, saying they “were never meant to be seen” outside her small group of friends.

June 17, 2021

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.”

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 red-faced person with the message “¡Guácala!,” which translates to “gross.”

In a statement Tuesday, Durazo said she was focused on helping vulnerable and working people and those facing eviction. “My sincere hope is that those distasteful comments don’t distract from the pressing efforts to help needy Angelenos and Californians,” Durazo said.

A photo of cupcakes with Cedillo’s face on top of them also drew comments on Solid Gold. “Who wants a cupcake?!” a group member wrote. Guerrero responded by posting a vomiting emoji.

“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 under a story about potential political seats being filled that featured a photo of the former state leader. Guerrero posted the red-faced cartoon character with “¡Guácala!,” 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 when no one is listening and how it affects their decision-making.”

Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor and former president of the city’s ethics commission, said the postings bring back “memories of a horrendous high school experience. But this is the administration of the second-biggest city in America.”

It’s unclear why the members of Solid Gold criticized the public figures. Guerrero didn’t respond to a question Tuesday on that topic.

Huerta and Pérez both backed Garcetti’s opponent Wendy Greuel in the 2013 Los Angeles mayor’s race. Big labor groups — including the county federation, led at the time by Durazo — also supported Greuel.

Guerrero, a former community organizer and daughter of migrant farmworkers, has spent two decades with Garcetti, working for him when he was on the City Council and becoming his chief of staff after he was elected mayor in 2013.

The Facebook group has come up repeatedly in depositions in a suit against the city filed by Matthew Garza, an LAPD officer who alleges that a Garcetti aide sexually harassed him. The former aide, Rick Jacobs, has denied harassing anyone.

During her deposition earlier this year, Guerrero testified that she did not remember if Jacobs was discussed in the private Facebook group.

Guerrero worked with Jacobs when he was at City Hall, and at one point in her deposition, she testified that she asked him to stop using the title “executive vice mayor,” which he had adopted.

One post reviewed by The Times shows the group discussing a 2016 L.A. Weekly report outlining how Jacobs had used the title. Guerrero, in the comments section of that post, posted an image of a crocodile or alligator fighting with a winged creature and the phrase “Denied.”

Garcetti, in his statement Tuesday, said the Solid Gold posts don’t reflect his “deep feelings of respect and friendship that I hold for the affected individuals.”

In 2019, the mayor’s Twitter account showed a photo of Garcetti, Huerta and others at a ceremony for a new Boyle Heights square bearing her name.

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.