The election to decide the next mayor of Los Angeles rapidly approaches, and for the last month Eric Garcetti has railed against fellow contender Wendy Greuel’s record and acceptance of outside funds.
Garcetti has publicly warned against the dangers of the influence of outside money in elections while Wendy Greuel has accepted the support from the Department of Water and Power’s IBEW Union and the Police Protective League. Greuel’s campaign has been hampered recently stemming from a 2007 vote while she was on the City Council that prevented the opening of a Home Depot nine miles from a competing building supply store that she partly owns. In addition, the Los Angeles Times refuted her claim that while City Controller she uncovered $160 million of “waste, fraud, and abuse”. The LA Times argues that Greuel’s audits only recovered a fraction of that figure– $239, 000.
Eric Garcetti has worked to present himself as a genuine alternative to Wendy Greuel and the special interests that back her. Yet, the harder he tries to present himself as a mayor that would equally represent all Angelenos, the more he appears to be cut from the same cloth as Greuel.
Garcetti’s strategy to portray himself as the candidate of the masses began on January 16th at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association Mayoral Forum, in which he asked Wendy Greuel to sign his “People’s Pledge”. The pledge called for the candidates to donate half of the outside funds spent on their respective L.A. mayoral campaigns to charity.
In the face of increased outside support for Gruel and Kevin James, Garcetti has declined to sign his own pledge while instead deciding to fight fire with fire. On February 14th, an independent committee was formed to back Garcetti’s campaign that would enable donors that have given the maximum $1,300 contribution to continue with their financial support. One of the co-founders of the committee, Mary Jane Stevenson, said the reasoning behind its formation was to “make sure that Eric is on the same kind of footing that Wendy is on.”
Today, LA Weekly reported that the similarities to between Gruel and Garcetti do not end with the SuperPAC connection. In 2006 while city council president, Garcetti voted to allow Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor to construct 420 electronic billboards apiece across the city. The decision was highly unpopular with residents across Los Angeles, but it is now apparent that Garcetti should have never casted a vote to begin with.
In his 2006 disclosure statement Garcetti declared ownership of 200 shares of Clear Channel Outdoor stock valued at $2,000 to $10,000. According to Fair Political Practice Commission Regulations, a conflict of interest exists only if the decision would have an effect of greater than $10 million on the company’s revenues, or greater than $2.5 million on the company’s expenses. A third party has estimated that Clear Channel’s revenue from the 85 digital billboards erected is within the neighborhood of $100 million annually.
The notion that Garcetti is not a typical politician who collects financial donations that will be cashed in as future favors has become a central campaign strategy. History shows, however, that Garcetti has done exactly that during his career as an LA politician. When push came to shove, he voted against the will of Los Angeles residents in 2006 in favor of a multi-billion dollar company. He pledged to keep outside funding out his campaign in order to be in a position to equally represent all Angelenos if elected, but he crumbled in face of the backing Wendy Greuel was receiving from special interest groups.
There is one candidate that is running to become the mayor of all Angelenos, and not the mayor of outside funders that donate because they expect something in return. There is one candidate that understands the perspective of the residents in Los Angeles’ most neglected neighborhoods because he grew up living there. Los Angeles has a clear choice between politics as usual and bold change. While Eric Garcetti has worked to characterize himself as the candidate of the “people”, there is only one contender for Los Angeles mayor that can claim this title and his name is Emanuel Alberto Pleitez.
Blog written by staff for the Emanuel Pleitez for Los Angeles Mayor 2013 campaign.
Emanuel Alberto Pleitez is a progressive Los Angeles native, he’s committed to uniting, serving, and inspiring his community. Son of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants, and experienced in the private and public sector, he hopes to re-energize Los Angeles with a grassroots campaign the likes of which the city has never seen before.
Paid for by Emanuel Pleitez for Los Angeles Mayor 2013, 1972 E Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles CA 90033. Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org.
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