Mayoral rivals Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti clashed over outside spending in the race in a debate Monday. Garcetti attacked Greuel for not agreeing to sign a pledge that would have required the candidates to give charities the equivalent of half the money spent on their behalf by independent groups. Greuel countered by arguing that Garcetti would not be as critical if he had received major union backing, and noting that Garcetti also has benefited from independent spending by his supporters.
On the campaign trail, Greuel held events across town Tuesday to court women voters. And her campaign mailed new fliers castigating Garcetti for accepting the endorsement of Kevin James, the sole GOP candidate in the mayoral race who came in the third in the March 5 primary. James responded by releasing text messages from Greuel courting his endorsement.
Councilman Garcetti, who has been criticized for not showing up at City Council meetings because he has been campaigning, attended Tuesday to vote against a controversial plan to move the northernmost runway closer to homes in Westchester and Playa del Rey. The council approved the proposed improvements, including terminal additions, a consolidated car rental facility, an elevated people mover and a transportation center with links to light-rail service, on a 10-4 vote. Greuel has not taken a position on the proposal.
Public safety levels have also been scrutinized as the candidates campaign with less than three weeks til election day on May 21. While both Greuel and Garcetti have embraced the city having a 10,000-strong police force — and Greuel has called for increasing it by 2,000 officers if the city’s finances allow — some notable voices are questioning whether that level of police service is justified when other vital services are being cut.
Greuel also criticized a new firefighter deployment plan and argued that Garcetti failed to restore cuts to resources made during the city’s fiscal crisis. As council members, Greuel and Garcetti both supported a 2009 budget plan that called for reductions in every city agency. But when the plan came up for consideration a second time, Greuel had moved over to the city controller’s office.
Times columnist Steve Lopez, who last week argued that the city’s public employees must shoulder more of their health and retirement costs, sat down with union leaders who gave him an earful. Lopez unfairly hammered organized labor despite recent concessions, they said, and he went too easy on public officials and ignored other solutions.
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