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Griego: Not One of the Boys

Linda Griego, the only politically prominent woman among the 24 candidates for mayor of Los Angeles, appears in her first TV ad standing in a bright red jacket among black-and-white cardboard cutouts of the men who are running against her. In the ad, which began running Tuesday, she declares herself different from the “guys at City Hall.”

THE AD: “Most of the men running for mayor think alike, sound alike and spend most of their time attacking each other,” Griego says. “I’m different. I want to attack the problems.” She pledges, if elected, to give preference to companies that keep jobs in Los Angeles, to cut 1,000 bureaucrats to add 1,000 police and to ban handguns and semiautomatic weapons. “It’s pretty hard to change things when you’re just like all the other guys at City Hall,” she says as she threads her way through a forest of cutouts.

THE ANALYSIS: Griego is hoping to overcome a miserable 2% showing in a recent poll with a novel ad that seeks to grab the attention of voters, especially women and those disaffected from the political status quo. But like candidate Richard Katz, who began a $1-million ad campaign Tuesday, Griego’s entry into the advertising race now--three weeks before the election and after several other candidates have been running commercials for weeks--may be too late. Griego campaign manager Roy Behr disagrees, contending that many voters are undecided. The ad attacks the political status quo--but Griego is hardly a City Hall outsider, having served recently as deputy mayor in the Bradley Administration. As for her pledge to ban handguns and semiautomatic weapons, that authority rests with the state, not the city, according to city lawyers. The cardboard-cutout gimmick seeks to project an image of cookie-cutter sameness onto the rival candidates. And in fact, they are the same: Their faces are imposed over the body of an unidentified Griego campaign worker. Finally, although Griego talks about keeping jobs in Los Angeles, her ad was produced by media strategist Bob Shrum--who is based in Washington, D.C.


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