With the mayoral campaigns picking up, and the news media starting to tune in more often, I'll be posting more updates on the race. Weekly at least, probably, and likely more often as we get closer to the March 5 election — plus individual posts on news that merits it or when I have something to say. Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed and the other awesome LA Observed columnists and contributors are likely to pop in with their observations too, as Mark did today on last night's Beverly Hills debate.
We don't coordinate our coverage here: Mark, Bill Boyarsky, Steve Greenberg and everyone post their own views, without editing by me, on their own schedules. And I post mine often on nights and weekends — so keep an eye out for new stuff. If you're interested in the races, now is a good time to follow LA Observed on Twitter: we often tweet news and observations before we post a longer entry on the blog. More than 14,000 Twitter users already follow LAO's tweets.
Everything posted on the city races going back a year is pulled together on the Campaign 2013 page, soon to be enhanced a bit with more links and a fuller archive.
Some things that caught our eye Friday:
Last night's debate was the first five-way, which included Emanuel Pleitez. The reporters who attended or watched the live-stream seemed underwhelmed. Gene Maddaus at the LA Weekly noted that the controversy over the future Century City subway station came up a lot. On this issue, at least, the candidates' positions and styles were fairly distinct. Jan Perry and Kevin James played to the BH crowd and came out against the MTA's decision to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School. Eric Garcetti favors the station location at Constellation Avenue, which does require burrowing under the school. Pleitez called the subway plans grandiose and said the MTA and community should talk more. Maddaus seemed the most amused by Wendy Greuel's dodge:
When it was her turn, Controller Wendy Greuel did not take a position on the controversy -- which is becoming a pattern. Greuel said there should be a stop in Century City, but did not say whether it should be at Santa Monica Boulevard or Constellation Boulevard, which is the whole controversy. She called for dialogue between Beverly Hills and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
She did promise, if elected, to repave Wilshire Boulevard. It's one of the city's least-smooth big boulevards due in part to all the bus traffic.
The story by Frank Stoltze of KPCC also focused on transportation issues. Garcetti, he said, "was the most specific in his response. He promised to start or complete 10 new rail lines, and suggested that one might be a tunnel underneath the Sepulveda Pass."
“That would allow us to get from Sherman Oaks to UCLA in 10 minutes,” Garcetti said.
LA's fiscal future dominated in the story by Jonah Lowenfeld of the Jewish Journal.
One of the questions on the minds of reporters covering the race, and of the political professionals, is when and how (and I guess, whether) friends Garcetti and Greuel will start to get more feisty with each other. In many voters' minds, they are a matched set — and if someone wants to actually win, he or she may want to put some distance between the other.
Today, they did so a little. After the controller's office held a news conference where Greuel said she had subpoenaed telephone companies in an ongoing probe of cellphone abuse at City Hall, the Garcetti campaign zinged her through campaign aide Jeff Millman:
"It shouldn't take an election for Ms. Greuel to finally get serious about finishing her incomplete audit from May 2011. We've had four years of a press release Controller, and L.A. cannot afford a press release Mayor."
Greuel's side counter-zinged later in the day, through campaign consultant John Shallman [full quote added]:
"Eric Garcetti's attack is factually incorrect and an example of political opportunism at its worst. Today's audit was a critical follow up to a 2011 audit which was already completed. Unfortunately, under Eric Garcetti's presidency, the City Council was asleep at the wheel while millions of dollars were wasted.
"It's always convenient for those in power to try to kill the messenger when there's been abuse of taxpayer money.
"Taxpayers have an absolute right to know when there is waste, fraud and abuse and Wendy Greuel will continue to shine a bright spotlight on government waste because it's not Eric Garcetti's money—it's the people's money."
For at least the second time this week, Greuel's Facebook page offered a call to urgent action on gun control: "There's no time to waste, and the new Congress is already considering bills to make guns safer. As gun sales continue to rise in California, it's more important than ever. Tell Congress to act NOW. www.wendygreuel.org/petition/guns/."
Perry, who represents downtown and South Los Angeles on the City Council, reached into the Valley and claimed credit for a motion asking the Chief Legislative Analyst, City Attorney, City planning department and Bureau of Sanitation to look into and report back on the Army Corps of engineers clearing some trees and brush from a corner of the Sepulveda Dam Basin. The controversy erupted last week.
“I was disheartened to learn, and with notification process that was at best unclear, that the Army Corp of Engineers cleared brush and marshes on more than 43 acres of land that was home to mammals, reptiles, and more than 250 species of birds,” said Councilwoman Perry, who represents the City of Los Angeles on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). “We must have safeguards in place to ensure that there are clear lines of communication between all government agencies and area stakeholders.”
Jim Rainey, the former LA Times City Hall reporter and media columnist, most recently a blogger on the presidential race, tweeted that he is covering the race for the Times.
The LA Times on Thursday profiled Garcetti, by Michael Finnegan. Sample:
A top contender to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Garcetti prides himself on his ease with the city's diverse cultures. He sees his mixed ancestry ("I have an Italian last name, and I'm half Mexican and half Jewish," he says) as a powerful part of his appeal in a city where voters for decades have split along racial and ethnic lines in mayoral elections.
But as the campaign begins to capture public attention, a big question is whether Garcetti can re-create the surge of Latino support that helped secure Villaraigosa's historic election eight years ago as the first Latino mayor of modern Los Angeles.
There was a Dec. 6 story on Kevin James by Catherine Saillant; I don't recall if that was packaged in the print paper as a candidate profile. It will be interesting to see how many candidates the paper deems profile-worthy: three, four, five, or more?
- Former congressman Mel Levine endorsed Garcetti.
- Councilman Tom La Bonge endorsed former Garcetti deputy Mitch O'Farrell in the 13th district race to succeed Garcetti.
- Councilman Bernard Parks endorsed ex-lawmaker Gil Cedillo in the 1st district race.
- City Council frontrunner Mike Bonin will official open his 11th district campaign headquarters on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., at 12222 Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista.
Post edited slightly here and there for smoothing