Greuel says mayor’s race opponents are lying about her record
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The Los Angeles mayor’s race took a sharply negative turn Wednesday as City Controller Wendy Greuel accused rivals Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry of lying about her record to distract from their own spending of taxpayer money on wasteful travel and perks.
Greuel’s broadside against the two City Council members came after weeks of relentless attacks on her by Garcetti, Perry and Kevin James, a former radio talk-show host.
By dint of bad luck -- her top three rivals see pockets of opportunity among key voter groups that Greuel is well-positioned to capture -– she has been more of a target than anyone else, leaving the impression at times that rivals were ganging up on her.
Greuel fought back Wednesday in a mailer that showed a wooden Pinocchio and photos of Garcetti and Perry.
“Why are City Council politicians Eric Garcetti & Jan Perry lying about Wendy Greuel’s audits?” it says.
Greuel, whose rivals scoff at her frequent statement that she uncovered $160 million in waste and fraud at City Hall, said Garcetti and Perry were “asleep at the switch” and failed to give her audits a hearing in the Council.
“Garcetti and Perry’s reckless disregard for the facts are meant to distract voters away from their record of waste,” the mailer says. “Garcetti travels around the world on the taxpayer dime and uses a slush fund to pay his personal staff. Meanwhile, Perry votes to lay off city workers while accepting a pay raise and a free Lincoln Town Car LS paid for by taxpayers.” FULL COVERAGE: L.A.’s race for mayor
The mailer is significant because it signals Greuel’s approach to taking down her rivals, revealing a crucial aspect of her campaign strategy to independent committees that are spending more than $1 million in advertising on her behalf.
The committees, formed by public employee unions and other Greuel allies, are barred from coordinating with her campaign, but have been careful to mimic her advertising. Unlike the campaign, the independent committees face no limits on contributions, giving a small group of donors enormous influence on the race.
Garcetti responded to Greuel’s attack by suggesting she was a hypocrite.
“I know for a fact that she has traveled that she’s billed the taxpayers for,” Garcetti said outside City Hall after a news conference on the council’s approval of his plan to open a city office of immigrant affairs.
Garcetti recalled traveling to Washington at taxpayer expense for National League of Cities meetings. He said he took other trips as an Aspen Institute or Asia Society fellow.
Garcetti also denied slowing down the city’s response to audits released by Greuel’s office since her 2009 election as controller. At the same time, he described the audits as nearly useless.
“The truth of the matter is, on her own website, she’s brought in $239,000,” he said. “During that time period, she was paid $800,000 as controller. Those results speak for themselves.”
Eric Hacopian, Perry’s chief campaign strategist, had no immediate response to Greuel’s specific allegations.
“The only thing revealing about this mailer is that they just confirmed to the world which candidate is in third place,” he said in an email.
Meanwhile, James, a former federal prosecutor, opened a new line of attack against Greuel, saying she was stonewalling in responding to a public records act request for her email with campaign advisors and Brian D’Arcy, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18.
The union, which represents more than 8,600 Department of Water and Power employees, has put $700,000 into an independent committee backing Greuel.
“What do they have to hide?” James asked reporters outside City Hall. “Where are the documents?”
At a morning campaign stop in Studio City, Greuel said she would need to ask her city staff whether any email between her and D’Arcy existed on her city account. But she denied stalling any response to records requests.
“We’re transparent,” she said.
-- Michael Finnegan