Garcetti: Money from Wal-Mart employee doesn’t break promise
Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti made a show last month of his anti-Wal-Mart credentials, vowing not to accept any campaign donations from the retail giant during his upcoming mayoral bid.
But it turns out that money from Wal-Mart employees poses no problem for Garcetti, who is looking to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in next year's election.
Garcetti filed paperwork Wednesday saying he has raised $2.2 million for his mayoral bid. As he did so, he reported receiving a $100 donation from Javier Angulo, identified in campaign paperwork as Wal-Mart’s director of community affairs.
Asked about the contribution, Garcetti campaign spokesman Bill Carrick said the pledge applied to the retail giant, not the people who work for it. "This is an individual contribution. This wasn’t from the Wal-Mart corporation," he said.
Wal-Mart's plan for a new grocery store in Chinatown has stirred the anger of its longtime critics, particularly labor organizations that are assiduously courted by L.A. politicians. Two of Garcetti's opponents, City Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilwoman Jan Perry, also vowed to reject Wal-Mart money.
When the pledge was announced, Greuel and Garcetti called on their fellow elected officials to give back money donated by Wal-Mart. Angulo has donated in the past year to Councilman Jose Huizar and to Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), who is running for the seat being vacated by Councilman Richard Alarcon, according to city records.
Garcetti's promise to reject the Wal-Mart cash was announced by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, an advocacy group that focuses on labor issues. Amy Wakeland, Garcetti's wife, is co-chair of the alliance's advisory board, according to the group's website.
Garcetti also signed a colleague's proposal to bar new chain stores from opening in Chinatown, which was drafted in response to Wal-Mart's expansion plans. That idea has already been shot down by the city's Planning Commission, which is made up of appointees of Villaraigosa.
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti addresses the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2011. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times