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Garcetti names top fundraiser as a senior advisor

August 06, 2013|By Michael Finnegan
  • Eric Garcetti greets supporters at the Hollywood Palladium on election night back in May.
Eric Garcetti greets supporters at the Hollywood Palladium on election… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has named Rick Jacobs, a Democratic organizer who raised more than $2 million to help him win the May election, as one of his senior advisors at City Hall.

Garcetti’s appointment of Jacobs is the latest in a series of top-tier City Hall jobs awarded to key supporters of the mayor’s campaign.

Jacobs’ title, deputy chief of staff for operations, belies the clout he is likely to wield as an outspoken player in the upper ranks of California politics and a longtime friend of Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland. When Jacobs headed the California operation of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, Wakeland was a local advisor to the campaign.

Jacobs’ assignment is to provide Garcetti counsel on communications, external affairs, scheduling, protocol and strategic partnerships.

"Rick brings a fresh, outsider's perspective to City Hall," Garcetti said in a written statement. "His depth of corporate, nonprofit and political experience will help us make city government work better, and I'm proud to have him on our team."

Jacobs is the founder of Courage Campaign, an advocacy group that has championed gay rights, gun control and a wide array of other liberal causes.

The City Hall post will be the first government job for Jacobs, a Tennessee native who makes his living as an investor who manages the assets of a Beverly Hills philanthropist, Erika Glazer. Jacobs is known for drawing a who’s who of Democratic politics to parties that he often hosts at the Hollywood house he shares with his partner, documentary filmmaker Shaun Kadlec.

Jacobs is also a prodigious fundraiser. In the mayor’s race, he formed an independent committee to back Garcetti when it became clear that unions for city workers, Hollywood moguls and other backers of rival Wendy Greuel were going to spend heavily on ads attacking Garcetti.

The committee, Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013, spent $2.3 million on the campaign, putting most of it into get-out-the-vote efforts in predominantly Latino neighborhoods that Garcetti wound up winning by wide margins.

Some of the money came from Garcetti’s business and Hollywood supporters, including $30,000 from TV talk-show star Jimmy Kimmel. But the biggest donations came from unions that represent mostly private-sector workers. They included $250,000 from International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 13 and nearly $200,000 from Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West.

Jacobs said he expected to remain on the board of Courage Campaign and continue to raise money for Democrats.

The Jacobs appointment follows Garcetti’s hiring of two other key players in the mayor’s race: Jan Perry and Kevin James. Both ran against Garcetti in the primary, then backed him in the runoff.

Perry, a former City Council member, is Garcetti’s interim director of the Economic Development Department. James, a Republican who built a following among conservatives in the San Fernando Valley and on parts of the Westside, is one of Garcetti's appointees on the powerful Board of Public Works.

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Twitter: @finneganlatimes

michael.finnegan@latimes.com

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