After Sunday, there are only two more weekends before a (relative) few people speak and the next mayor is chosen. I still don't detect much bubbling interest among the populace, but people have to be tuning with all the ads hitting TV and your favorite websites. Don't they?
About 150 people showed up Sunday at a Garcetti "rally in the Valley" at the Tapia Brothers produce stand and farm in the Sepulveda Basin. It was almost a home visit for Garcetti: he grew up six blocks from the stand in Encino and played Little League across the street. He took advantage of the opportunity to remind the crowd of his Valley roots. He brought former candidates Jan Perry and Kevin James for support, along with Councilmen Paul Koretz and Richard Alarcon and school board member Tamar Galatzan. Perry and Alarcon got off the best lines joking about how they never agree on anything at the City Council, but they agree on Garcetti. There also was an amusing moment where Garcetti, who has slammed Wendy Greuel over her big-bucks support from labor, made a point of thanking by name his union supporters in the crowd. Before leaving, I picked up a flat of strawberries and some fresh corn for the Sunday night grill.
While I was grilling, Garcetti and Greuel were holding their latest debate. Sunday night's confab at the Galen Center was sponsored by USC, KTLA Channel 5 and the LA Times and featured the LAT's Jim Newton and USC's Dan Schnur asking the questions. It was a lot like the previous few dozen debates. "Despite bitter attacks in recent weeks, the two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles grudgingly conceded in a debate Sunday night that their rival was (mostly) honest and not so different on many of the plans they have for leading the city," is how the Times' James Rainey and Maeve Reston led the game story.
That didn't mean City Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel didn't find plenty of opportunity for attacks on each other's trustworthiness and independence. But they also laid out records that they said made them most qualified to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is leaving office June 30 after serving the maximum two terms.
Greuel cited her audits of city departments and her experience developing housing and community programs, as a staffer for former Mayor Tom Bradley and, later, in the administration of President Clinton.
Garcetti repeated his admonition that voters look at improvements in his council district — from Hollywood to Silver Lake and Atwater Village. He stressed his work on the city's recent pension reform and presented a diverse public resume that includes service in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Times reporters and editors had been promoting the debate last week and took to Twitter trying to juice interest in the event. Political reporters Maeve Reston, Seema Mehta and Rainey (pictured here) set up the scene in a video discussion for the Times website last week. At the Encino rally, a Garcetti partisan did his part. He told everyone to pull out their smartphones and immediately tweet a pro-Garcetti message so it would get his name trending before the debate. I don't know whether it worked, but here are Garcetti and James dutifully tweeting.
During the debate, KCET producer Karen Foshay posted on Facebook: "My 8 year old son is watching the LA Mayor's race with me and just said, 'I don't think these two are gonna do half of what they are saying they are gonna do.'" Sign up the kid! He has good instincts. Here's the KTLA debate story.
When CODA Automotive filed for bankruptcy last week, the tab for the city's pledge of $1 million to lure the company from Santa Monica landed on Eric Garcetti. He spearheaded the relocation in 2011, saying it would bring 500 green jobs to the city. "I'll always fight for jobs," Garcetti shrugged. "Some of them work and some of them don't." LA Weekly/Gene Maddaus
Almost a week after the Daily News' Dakota Smith looked at Garcetti and Greuel's family lives, the Times had Kate Linthicum go there too. Her story goes a bit deeper on Garcetti's 16-month-old adopted daughter Maya with wife Amy Wakeland. "Garcetti and his wife adopted Maya last year after serving as foster parents for years. Wakeland grew up in a blended family that included foster kids, so the decision to open their home came naturally, Garcetti said. 'We wanted to make an impact and help young people in need, help extend family to them,' he said." LAT
Saturday: Mayor candidates make pitches to Latino voters. LAT/Reston
Greuel proposed that developers should be required to reveal any criminal background when seeking taxpayer money for projects. DN/Dakota Smith
Greuel's campaign of gotchas "conveys desperation," says the LA Times columnist Sandy Banks. LAT
Kevin James and Jan Perry, the mayoral candidates who finished third and fourth in the March primary, are said to be shopping a radio talk show they would jointly host. "We talk about everything," Perry told Rick Orlov. "I told him it would be pretty funny with him as a white, gay Republican and me, an African-American woman, talking about issues. " Also in Olrov's Monday Tipoff column: Antonio Villaraigosa talking to UCLA about taking his mayoral papers, Rick Caruso honored by the Los Angeles Police Foundation, and the city's 311 app. DN column
The campaign tactic of filing complaints against your rival with the City Ethics Commission knowing the agency cannot comment is out of control this election cycle. A former commission member compared the practice to "swatting." DN/Orlov
Garcetti has edge in City Council endorsements. Neon Tommy
"Still, it's a nice idea." — Curbed LA, pointing out the obstacles in front of the mayoral candidates' fantasies about Sepulveda Pass.
Top and bottom photos at Tapia Brothers farm: LA Observed. Middle picture is a screen grab from LATimes.com.