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L.A. mayoral candidates respond to cultural questions

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Los Angeles' primary election for mayor is Tuesday. In a recent survey conducted by Arts for L.A., a nonprofit group that promotes cultural funding, the candidates responded to a series of questions related to the arts and the creative industries.

Their responses can be viewed in their entirety on the Arts for LA website. The survey dealt primarily with arts funding, but it included a question about the candidates' most meaningful cultural experience growing up.

Councilman Eric Garcetti recalled a time when "my parents took me to my first concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a majestic setting and inspired me to learn to play the piano and compose music. I still play and compose, mostly jazz."

Jan Perry, who is also on the City Council, said: "I have always loved music and dancing. My mother played the organ and taught us to sing." 

Wendy Greuel, the city controller, recalled that as a student, she "saw 'Porgy and Bess' at the Ahmanson Theatre. It was riveting. For the first time, I experienced the moving and transformative nature of artistic expression at its highest level, sparking my lifelong interest in arts, culture, and entertainment."

When asked how they would support funding for local arts and culture, the candidates addressed the money that comes from 1% of the transient occupancy tax levied on hotel rooms.

Greuel said that she would expand the city’s funding mechanisms for local arts and culture. She also said that she is in the process of conducting an audit of the city's Transient Occupancy Tax 1% allocation to the arts "to ensure that these dollars are going to the right programs."

Garcetti said the city "must realize that the revenues that support public services are generated by economic activity." He said his focus is "not on how much to tax people or how much to cut services. It's on how to grow our economy -- tourism, manufacturing, small businesses -- across the board."

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