Stuckey didn’t pay attention to the hands that fed him

first_imgLove him or hate him, the fate of Guerdon Stuckey last week proved, once again, that being dogcatcher is the most politically perilous job at City Hall. With less than year on the job, Stuckey was fired late Thursday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa after talks broke down over him leaving on his own. There was a time when the job had a relative degree of security. But all that has changed in recent years with the emphasis on having a low-kill policy for the animals the department shelters. Stuckey found rough sledding almost from the moment he was hired by former Mayor James Hahn to head the Department of Animal Services. Not only did Stuckey lack experience with animal issues, he didn’t even have a pet. As general manager, Stuckey was able to reach out to workers – visiting them at shelters, listening to their complaints – something that even several previous department heads hadn’t done. But he never built a relationship among those most important to his survival – the humane community, the five-member citizen commission that oversees the department, the City Council and, in particular, the new mayor. Even though Villaraigosa had said during his campaign he would remove Stuckey, he appeared to be offering him a brief window to come around. When that didn’t happen, Villaraigosa acted. Members of the humane community and Animal Services commissioners are ecstatic at Stuckey’s removal. “We know the mayor is going to take some heat, but we think he should know he made the right decision,” one commissioner said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remakecenter_img Added another: “Nothing good was going to happen if Mr. Stuckey stayed on the job. Now we can have a fresh start.” While the mainstream of the state Republican Party seems mollified by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his hiring of a longtime Democratic operative as his chief of staff, the far-right wing is still far from satisfied. Schwarzenegger earned the group’s wrath with his appointment of Susan Kennedy as his chief of staff. Kennedy is a lifelong Democrat activist who worked for former Gov. Gray Davis. The California Republican Assembly, the most conservative part of the GOP, recently announced that it was not only looking to renounce its previous support for Schwarzenegger, it was fondly eyeing the recall election and its favorite candidate, state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks. The group announced it wanted to start selling bumper stickers reading: “Don’t Blame Me. I voted for McClintock.” A couple of weeks ago, it was noted that Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Granada Hills, had one gift on his Christmas list that he wanted from supporters – a contribution to his campaign for state treasurer. Well, it turns out he’s not alone in asking Santa for some money. In nearly identical language, Democrat Jim Alger – one of those who wants to succeed Richman – is asking for donations prior to the Dec. 31 reporting deadline. Not that he needs the money to show his campaign’s health and viability, Alger insisted, but any contribution will help him during the June primary. On the other side of town, Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, who is running for the state Senate, also has a similar request. In a detailed two-page letter to supporters, Ridley-Thomas defends his decision to seek higher office after two terms in the Assembly, saying he wants to be more proactive rather than engage in “detrimental political fights and inflammatory hot-button issues that do nothing constructive.” In an example of the law of unintended consequences, leaders of neighborhood councils are questioning the value of a special fund created under Hahn. As part of his campaign, Hahn promised to allow each neighborhood council to decide how $100,000 for street repairs would be spent in its areas. But it turns out the money can only be used for street repairs – not sidewalks or other work the neighborhood councils might want. And it also can generally only be used for streets already designated as needing work by the city. “There are lessons to be learned from this,” said the editors of City Watch, a newsletter to the groups. “Neighborhood councils have matured enough that they no longer welcome any handout. They are secure enough to want these perceived benefits to have substance.” Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img