Campaign 2013

Monday politics: DN's nittier, grittier Greuel plus a lot more


Campaign 2013 profile: Orlov on Greuel

Rick Orlov's proflle of the Wendy Greuel candidacy for mayor in the Daily News says that the city controller views herself as "someone who recognizes problems and finds solutions." But not everyone agrees with her, of course.

Garcetti described Greuel as a "good colleague," but his campaign has begun to critique her tenure in her current post, calling her a "press release controller."

Richard Close of the influential Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association said he worked with Greuel throughout her eight years on the City Council, when she represented the southeastern Valley.

"She is very detail oriented and definitely knows the problems of the San Fernando Valley," Close said. "I think the question she needs to answer is: Is she tough enough to be mayor, to say no to the unions, to the city bureaucracy and others? We need a leader who is strong on policy and will make the cuts that are needed to keep the city solvent."

Greuel, 51, said she believes she has proven she is tough enough for the job, given some bruising political battles over the years as well as the sometimes scathing audits issued in her role as controller.

"People understand I can be a good legislator, be a good businesswoman and go after those issues that are important. I think people will find I can do all those things and be tough. They want someone to lead them, I have demonstrated I can be that leader."

Fresh factoid: She was student body president of Kennedy High School in Granada Hills.

Can Jan Perry win?

A weekend email from an ex-patriate, once-successful Los Angeles campaign consultant advises me not to disregard Jan Perry's chances of getting into the mayoral runoff. She trails way behind Greuel and Eric Garcetti in cash and endorsements, but the consultant says, "$1.3 million dollars can buy a lot of TV on the cable networks in the City of LA, and reach those voters who will go to the polls. If Maxine Waters gets energized, then Perry could surprise all of us."

OK, fair enough. My view is it's still too early to declare winners and losers. But the latest campaign contribution numbers do show that the Perry campaign has to draw its optimism from a series of "ifs" and "could happen" scenarios. I think there is support out there for Perry that has yet to reveal itself, especially among business leaders who aren't excited by Greuel or Garcetti. But whether there is enough to change the game for Perry, or enough support for her among African Americans, are questions that nudge the conversation back to the optimist's game of what if's.

I guess from this quote in the LA Times on Saturday we should place Perry supporter Ruth Galanter, the former Westside councilmember, in the stark realist category.

“There are some people out there trying to say, ‘Oh, she can't win,'” Galanter told a Perry crowd. “And the answer to that is: Of course she can win. People vote for her, she gets enough votes, she wins.” LOL, true that Ruth.

Meanwhile, in the Daily Beast, David Freedlander declares that "the battle lines are still shifting, and none of the contenders looks likely to assemble the coalition of Hispanic voters and Democratic Party stalwarts that Villaraigosa did when he bumped incumbent Mayor James Hahn from office in 2005. Instead, the four candidates are all scrambling for a piece of it."

Mayor's hollow victory on LAPD strength

Jim Newton, the LA Times editor at large whose column runs Mondays on the op-ed page, covered the LAPD and the mayor's office when he was a cityside reporter. He taps his experience in both places to call BS on Mayor Villaraigosa's claim of credit for pushing the size of the LAPD force above 10,000 — as the mayor had promised to do. It's not that the department has not crossed the purely symbolic 10,000 threshold — it has — but whether it means anything. From Monday's column, which opens by giving Villaraigosa credit for being charge during the current historic (and nationwide) crime drop.

But the mayor is rarely content to be credited only for what he deserves, and last week offered another reminder of that.

Appearing with Beck to review the city's overall decline in crime during 2012, Villaraigosa used the opportunity to announce that he had fulfilled his long-stated goal of enlarging the size of the LAPD to more than 10,000 officers, a goal that eluded his predecessors.

Behind Villaraigosa's surprise statement, however, was a catch. It's true enough that the LAPD now has more than 10,000 officers, but Villaraigosa went the final distance toward that goal not by hiring additional police officers but by moving 60 officers who work for the city's Department of General Services into the LAPD.

Presto! The LAPD now officially has 10,023 officers.

The trouble, of course, is that while moving those officers into the LAPD may make administrative sense, it does not produce one smidgen of improved public safety

Energizer mayor

In Rick Orlov's Monday Tipoff column in the Daily News, Villaraigosa sounds a little wistful about leaving office in less than six months and says he won't be a needle in the side of the next mayor like Richard Riordan has sometimes been.

"I don't know if I will ever do anything more in public service," Villaraigosa told Orlov. "I hope I do, but I know there will never be another job like this.

"I do know I won't be like (former Mayor Richard) Riordan and comment on everything they do. I will be supportive of whoever the next mayor is."

Then — and this is kind of bizarre — Villaraigosa said that he was awake for 2½ days before and after his recent official trip to Latin America, trying to end the Port ot LA's labor trouble. "I was up 62 hours straight," Villaraigosa said. "I was on the phone all the time and then, when I got back, I became involved immediately in the talks and was involved for 30 hours straight."

Gallegly on partisanship in Congress

Elton Gallegly represented the Ventura County corner of Southern California in Congress for 13 terms, casting his final vote Jan. 1 on the fiscal cliff legislation. The longtime Republican writes on the LA Times op-ed page that Congress has lost the spirit of compromise it had when he began, and he rues that for the country. Sample:

My colleagues in the 100th Congress understood that it was our job to seek common ground in striving to do what was best for the country. Like today's Congress, we were an ideologically divided group with every part of the political spectrum represented, from the far right to the far left. But we found ways to compromise without sacrificing our core beliefs. We moved the country forward.

We understood then that there was a time to campaign and a time to govern. Today, Congress is constantly campaigning. Governing has fallen by the wayside.

The battle over the fiscal cliff provides a perfect example. The Biden-McConnell compromise was a lopsided bill. It maintained middle-class tax cuts, but it kicked the hard decisions on cutting spending down the road. I voted for it on New Year's Day not because I thought it was a good bill but because it was the lesser of two evils.

Greuel gives blood

It can safely be said that Controller Wendy Greuel floods the email boxes of supporters, contacts and reporters with mass-mailed requests for funds, position statements and other communications. This one on Friday was a bit different. She said she would be giving blood for the child of a friend who was facing a weekend operation, and asked her supporters to help out.

I want to put politics aside for a moment to tell you a story that, as a mom, breaks my heart.

A dear friend of mine has a son, Matthew, with a rare, life-threatening condition - aplastic anemia. Because of this illness, he has needed many blood transfusions over the last three years. Despite these threats to his health, Matthew's spirit remains high. He's working towards his diploma, and is looking forward to his future.

Tomorrow, Matthew will undergo a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope hospital, where he'll remain for at least six weeks. I'll be donating blood for Matthew at City of Hope. Will you commit to also donating blood this weekend, or in the coming weeks, so we can make a tremendous difference in his life, and in the lives of many sick young people?

Tomorrow's transplant could finally make Matthew well, but he's going to need many of us to step up to donate blood to see him through.

Politics notes
  • Vivid Entertainment, the adult film company with a big visible building in Caheunga Pass, has sued in federal court to overturn Measure B, the condom-in-porn law approved by Los Angeles County voters. DN
  • A female deputy who the Times calls the daughter of a top aide to Sheriff Lee Baca has lodged accusations of sexual harassment against three current and retired department officials. LAT
  • SoCal's new Congress members are settling in. DN
  • Activists in West Hollywood are pushing a March 5 election measure that would term-limit the City Council there. LAT
  • New San Diego mayor Bob Filner is stopping the city's legal efforts aimed at forcing marijuana dispensaries out of business. LAT
  • Mariel Garza, the onpion editor for all of the Los Angeles News Group papers, is adding responsibilities for the chain's community engagement strategy.
  • A Hollywood guide to the Israeli election in the Jewish Journal.

Photo: Los Angeles City Council chambers in 1933.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Campaign 2013 stories on LA Observed:
Shallman and Carrick on 'Which Way, LA?' tonight
Greuel consultant blames the LA Times
Morning Buzz: Friday 5.24.13
Campaign 2013 photo gallery by Gary Leonard
Election post-mortem in quotes (some very pointed)
Losers in the mayoral race: Latino leaders?
Yaroslavsky: No regrets and some advice for the next mayor
Garcetti thanks Greuel and LA, says election was 'never for sale'


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