Deleted tweets are shaking up the L.A. city controller race | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack


Two years ago, certified public accountant Kenneth Mejia was an activist with a lot to say about the presidential campaign, especially then-Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden.

Mejia, then a Green Party member and onetime supporter of presidential nominee Jill Stein, advised his followers on social media that both Biden and President Trump were “sexual predators” — and declared that he would never vote for either of them.

On Twitter, he used the hashtag #joebidenisaracist and said his party would save the planet from “corporate loving rapists like Trump and Biden.”

“I can’t waste my vote this year voting for Joe Biden as much as me & my DEMOCRAT friends love him as a rapist & racist,” he wrote.

Now, as a candidate for city controller in the June 7 election, Mejia is on the receiving end of attacks from his rivals over his political messages. One of his opponents called Thursday for Mejia to drop out, saying those social media posts make him unworthy of public office. Two others said they showed poor judgment.

“We need to restore the public’s trust in their elected officials,” said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Atty. Mike Feuer and a candidate in the controller race. “And we can’t do that by being a Twitter bully making shameful and incendiary comments.”

Mejia, in an interview, confirmed that he wrote the tweets and said the fact that his opponents are bringing them up “shows that we are winning.” He also pointed to his recent endorsement from The Times’ editorial board, which praised him for his work in providing transparency on how public money is spent. (The editorial board operates independently of the newsroom.)

“At the end of the day, I’m focused, and our campaign is focused, on bringing Angelenos together by understanding the city’s finances,” he said. “These past tweets are a non-story, and not representative of what I’ll be doing as city controller.”

Mejia’s insurgent campaign has brought fresh attention to the lesser known position of controller, which serves as auditor and chief accounting officer for City Hall. Employing billboard messages about the city budget, oversized images of his corgi and a steady stream of TikTok videos, Mejia has galvanized many of the city’s younger, progressive voters.

Mejia posted his Biden tweets in 2020, the year that a former Senate staffer accused the Democrat of sexually assaulting her in the early 1990s. (Biden has emphatically denied the allegations.) Four years earlier, Mejia tweeted a photo of himself holding a sign with a photoshopped image of Hillary Clinton behind bars.

On Thursday, Mejia declined to share his views on Biden, saying only that he left the Democratic Party at one point out of frustration over its treatment of working-class voters, re-registering with the Green Party. He is again a Democrat.

Screenshots of Mejia’s tweets have been quietly circulating in certain L.A. political circles for several weeks. Councilman Paul Koretz, who is also running for controller, mentioned them during a March 2 endorsement meeting held by the Miracle Mile Democratic Club on Zoom.

Mejia, in turn, has been skewering Koretz over his fundraising activities, highlighting the councilman’s decision to hold a campaign fundraiser at the home of city commissioner who oversees the Department of Water and Power — an apparent violation of the city’s ethics law.

He also posted a video pointing out that Koretz, who promised not to accept money from fossil fuel interests, received a $1,500 donation from a Bakersfield oil company and held a fundraiser at the company president’s home.

Koretz’s political consultant, Parke Skelton, said the councilman was not aware of the businessman’s oil ties. The event was put together by members of the city’s Persian community, Skelton said, and Koretz has returned the businessman’s donation.

On Thursday, Skelton went on Twitter to post images of Mejia’s now-deleted Biden tweets. He called them “a shocking display of divisiveness and immaturity” — and said they do not bode well for Mejia’s ability to “bring people together and seek compromise.”

“This guy is about demonizing, in the most vile terms, people that he disagrees with,” he said.

Former Los Angeles deputy mayor Rick Cole, who is backing Mejia, called Wilcox a “government hack” and said Koretz is “financially illiterate.” He offered a vigorous defense of Mejia, comparing him to a young Zev Yaroslavsky, who was elected to the City Council at 26 and went on to a long career as a Los Angeles County supervisor.

Cole, a former Pasadena mayor, said Mejia is “a quick learner, and he really wants to do the right thing.”

“He is a young, progressive, passionate guy who looks around and sees the legacy of racism and sexism, and said some things on Twitter that he probably now regrets,” said Cole, who served at one point as a budget advisor to Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Reid Lidow, a former Garcetti aide who is also running for controller, had a different take.

“Angelenos deserve a controller focused on integrity and transparency, not political demagoguery,” Lidow said.





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