LA Mayoral Candidates Square Off at Debate

On Monday night, as most LA city residents were wrapping up their three-day weekend, five candidates for mayor were sparring at California State University, Los Angeles. With just two weeks to go until the election, the exchange was as hot as ever. Campaign ads were front and center with Council Member Eric Garcetti challenging City Controller Wendy Greuel’s assertion that she uncovered $160 million in waste and fraud as city controller. That claim, repeated in Greuel’s latest campaign ad, is mere “flim-flam,” according to Garcetti who has said the number is, at best, closer to $239,000. In turn, Greuel accused Garcetti of ignoring the problem altogether. 

Garcetti, on offense for most of the night, also went after Greuel’s plan to increase the number of LA police and firefighters, questioning where the money was going to come from. But Greuel continued to tout the support she’s received from public safety groups, at one point poignantly stating “they chose me.”

In his closing statement, Garcetti questioned Greuel’s independence, painting her as a shill for the Department of Water and Power union. Greuel’s campaign has already responded with a website dedicated to the issue. Among other things, the page highlights instances in which Greuel has stood up to the DWP.  

The three other candidates, for their part, did what they do best throughout the night, holding themselves up as outsiders and appealing to those who simply view Garcetti and Greuel as two sides of the same coin.

As of yesterday, the latest poll by SurveyUSA had Garcetti leading Greuel by just 3 points. Whether and how last night’s debate will impact those numbers remains to be seen.

Read more here and here.


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