The LA Podcast

The picture with a lot going on

by Hayes Davenport
November 22, 2020

On Friday, reporter Jim Rainey at the LA Times published the above photo.

The photo shows Rick Jacobs, one of Mayor Garcetti’s closest advisors, acting as if he’s grabbing the crotch of a blurred-out, unnamed person at the 2017 US Conference of Mayors in Miami. It’s a group shot, with Garcetti just on the other side of the person who Jacobs is pretending to grope, giving a double thumbs-up.

This photo arrives after a month of allegations regarding Jacobs’s history of sexual harassment and assault while in Garcetti’s circle — with multiple victims claiming that his misconduct took place with Garcetti’s knowledge. This is happening as the Mayor is being vetted for a position in Joe Biden’s cabinet.

All of that is, of course, the most important stuff going on in this picture. But it’s also worth looking at who else is in it. Everyone in the group shot is very relevant to the operation of LA city government — and the fact that they’re all standing together for this photo at the US Conference of Mayors tells a story about how LA works, I think.

So here’s who they all are. From left to right:

Rick Jacobs 


Eric Garcetti

Josh Perttula

Gerard Orozco

Heather Repenning

So that’s who’s hanging out together at the US Conference of Mayors. They are all friends. They’ve worked together for many years, even decades. And they’ve all relied on each other for career success.

I’m not accusing anyone in this picture of doing anything illegal or flagrantly corrupt. This is just how it works. These are all preeminent members of the City Family — as members themselves often refer to it — and the City Family runs on loyalty. Everyone in this picture has seen their loyalty manifestly rewarded. They’ve built relationships. They were all presumably at the US Conference of Mayors to build more relationships.

All of them have done time working for the city, and then either profited from their government connections in the private sector or saw their status in City Hall grow significantly — in no small part with the assistance of the people they’re standing next to. Again, this is just how it works. When you’re in the City Family, you help each other.

And when one of the City Family commits sexual misconduct in your peripheral vision, you smile and look straight ahead.