Former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan sounds pretty disappointed that Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky opted out of the race for mayor. Of the candidates who are in the race, Riordan said Thursday, "I think we have to look hard for other candidates" — and joked that his best suggestion for voters might be "to move out of the city."
His comments came in an interview with the Times' Kate Linthicum. In her online story, she says Riordan dismissed Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti as under the control of unions."They’ve voted for everything the unions want them to vote for,” Riordan is quoted saying. “The unions are the ones that are causing the tremendous financial crisis we’re in.”
Councilwoman Jan Perry and radio guy Kevin James are incapable of winning, Riordan apparently said. No mention was made of the rest of the field.
“The city is in and is going deeper into financial disaster,” Riordan said. “I think we have to look hard for other candidates."
Riordan has been talking a lot in recent weeks about steadily rising city employee pension costs and the unwillingness he sees among Los Angeles lawmakers to take steps to reduce them. He and a coalition of business leaders have vowed to put a referendum on the May ballot that would turn decisions on pensions over to voters.
Riordan says county officials, including Yaroslavsky, have done a better job than city officials at controlling pension costs. He said the longtime supervisor is candid and "independent-minded." Without him, Riordan said, the race lacks contenders who will give an honest assessment of the city’s financial picture....
Riordan said it’s now time to find a new candidate who will be "independent of unions and other special interests.”
Garcetti's consultant Bill Carrick pushes back, saying "Dick's out of control....Eric's not under total control of the unions.” Carrick also said Riordan is wrong to blame unions for the city's fiscal pressure. “The economy is causing the financial crisis we're in,” Carrick said.
For the first time that I've noticed, former Villaraigosa adviser Robert Hertzberg did the surrogate thing on Greuel's behalf. He said Greuel has the skills to address he budget issues. Hertzberg was announced yesterday as a backer of Greuel.
In 2010, Riordan predicted the city would fall into bankruptcy by 2014.