The race for Los Angeles mayor takes another turn tonight at 7 when City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel face off in a televised debate, the third since the candidates finished as the top vote-getters in the March 5 primary.
The broadcast on NBC4 and KPCC-FM (89.3) will beam from USC’s Health Sciences Campus next to Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.
Monday’s contest comes a day after a USC Price/Los Angeles Times Poll found Garcetti with a 50% to 40% lead among likely voters. Greuel’s team questioned the results of the survey, but some of its findings had to be of concern to her supporters.
With Greuel bidding to become the first woman mayor in the city’s history, the poll found Garcetti leading among women by nine percentage points. And Greuel’s attempt to become the candidate of conservatives —as controller she is the official fiscal watchdog at City Hal l —also had not gained traction. Garcetti led among conservatives citywide, picking up many of the voters who supported Republican radio personality Kevin James in the primary.
Potentially amplifying her appeal to women, Greuel’s first campaign ad featured U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), along with Laker great Magic Johnson and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. On Monday, the campaign announced several new endorsements by female lawmakers, bringing to 17 the total number of women state senators and assemblywomen backing Greuel.
Her campaign also pressed its attempt to sow doubt about Garcetti, the three-term councilman who represents Hollywood and surrounding communities.
Greuel released a statement detailing a complaint that one of her predecessors, former Controller Rick Tuttle, filed against Garcetti with the city Ethics Commission. The complaint related to a 2009 ballot initiative to install solar panels throughout the city to produce electricity.
Tuttle noted that Garcetti sent an email at the time of the solar campaign, suggesting he might be able to delay a council committee hearing expected to bring out a controller’s audit critical of the solar measure.
“The mere appearance of his being willing to use his position of authority to block the timely hearing regarding the Controller’s report and the dissemination of information to the public is disturbing to say the least,” Tuttle wrote to the city Ethics Commission.
Though the hearing was postponed until after the 2009 election, Garcetti said he had nothing to do with the delay. His version of events was backed by City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who said she, as chairwoman of the key committee, was responsible for the delay.
The truth of the matter may be hard for voters to discern. Tuttle is a Greuel backer. And Perry, who finished fourth in the March mayoral primary, is now backing Garcetti.