Dueling mouthpieces

The mayor's race got a little snippy today. This morning I guess Bob Hertzberg unveiled something he calls the Commuters' Bill of Rights. The Hahn campaign responded, over spokeswoman Julie Wong's name, with a "bill" for $850 million, saying that's the amount the Los Angeles region has lost in transportation funds under a loophole that Hertzberg approved while Speaker of the state Assembly. A snippet of Wong's letter:

According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, these diversions could indefinitely delay some of our most important transportation projects, including the improvement of the 101-405 interchange and expansion of bus and light rail lines from Downtown Los Angeles to the surrounding communities.

An invoice is attached. Payments can be made to: The Taxpayers of Los Angeles.

This afternoon, Hertzberg's headquarters sent back a "Dear Mayor" missive signed by his spokesman, Matt Szabo. It says that Hertzberg was not in the Legislature when the money destined for L.A. got re-routed, and adds:

But since you raise the subject of transportation votes, perhaps you should remind your staff that, as a director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, you missed hundreds of votes in 2003 and 2004 including votes on the design and construction of the Eastside rail extension, the Hollywood and Vine Metro Station and construction supervision of HOV lanes on the I-10 Freeway.

Also attached for your convenience is the invoice submitted in error to Mr. Hertzberg. Please return it to your research department for fact checking.

Antonio Villaraigosa, meanwhile, has waded into the blogopshere on his campaign website. Also, starting with Hertzberg on Thursday, the candidates are going solo to take questions from business leaders, at sessions moderated by a friendly face. The schedule follows:

WHAT: Los Angeles Business Council Mayoral Candidates Series

Thursday, January 13, 7:30 a.m. Former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg. Moderated by Richard Ziman, Arden Realty.

Thursday, January 20, 6:00 p.m. Mayor James Hahn. Introduction by Jim Hernandez, Accenture; Moderated by Greg Vilkin, Forest City Development.

Thursday, February 3, 7:30 a.m. City Councilmember Antonio Villaraigosa. Moderated by City Councilmember Jack Weiss.

Thursday, February 17, 7:30 a.m. City Councilmember Bernard Parks. Moderated by David Gascon, Assistant Chief, LAPD (ret.).

Friday, February 25, 7:30 a.m. Senator Richard Alarcon. Moderated by Martha Diaz-Aszkenazy, Pueblo Contracting.

WHERE: Regency Club, 10900 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood.

WHY: The five candidates have now participated in two televised debates. The format of the LABC series, however, affords the candidates the opportunity to more fully engage with business leaders on such issues as affordable housing, public education, and sustainable development.

Each candidate will address the audience for 20 minutes followed by 40 minutes of Q & A. 90 business leaders are expected to attend.

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