With polls showing a potentially close race for Los Angeles mayor, candidate Eric Garcetti trolled for last-minute votes in Pacific Palisades with former Republican contender Kevin James at his side.
Though Garcetti had a 7-point margin over his rival Wendy Greuel in the latest USC Price/Los Angeles Times poll, he said after greeting diners over pancakes and omelets at Cafe Vida, "I'm campaigning like I'm 20 points behind -- I have since the beginning of this race."
Many Angelenos have tuned out of the race, but Garcetti said he was trying to engage voters by explaining his record as a City Council member and the challenges ahead for the city.
"The closing argument is a record of accomplishment that you can see with your eyes -- it's not an abstract thing. It's taking care of small things that lead to big change," he said. "It's No. 1 in jobs," he said, referring to his Silver Lake district. "It's tripling the number of parks, cutting violent crime by two-thirds; it's not just talking about plans for the future, but a record of what I've done."
"And the second part is independence to do it, being willing to tell people not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear," Garcetti continued. "We're not out of the woods yet. And to get this city back to work and back on track, it's going to require an independent leader, and I can be that."
Later, as he prepared for an afternoon "Whistle Stop" tour on L.A.'s rail and light-rail lines, Garcetti tweeted that he had picked up 13 votes during his Palisades swing. Among those new supporters was Kevin McCall, who had been picked out by James as a Republican because he was wearing an orange "W 2004" ball cap from George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign. McCall said he "wouldn't have voted for either one of them" but was swayed by James' backing of Garcetti.
"The city is a mess," said McCall, who works in corporate communications and lives in Brentwood. "And Greuel and Garcetti were two people on the City Council who were contributors to it. If you have somebody in charge of a kitchen and it's falling apart, you don't put them in charge of 10 kitchens."
"Unfortunately, I have a choice of two and it's either the person that's being handpicked by the unions, or Eric Garcetti, who has got most of the other union endorsements. Both of them I think are too connected."
"But if Kevin James supports him, that's my small tipping point," McCall said.
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