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Police union puts another $850,000 into bid to elect Greuel

Los Angeles mayoral candidate and City Controller Wendy Greuel speaks during a debate hosted by Zocalo Public Square and KCRW.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

The union that represents Los Angeles police officers put another $850,000 into the effort to elect mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, according to a report posted Wednesday by the city’s Ethics Commission.

The independent expenditure brings the total spending for Greuel by the Police Protective League to more than $1.43 million, contribution records show.

That makes the union a close second to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, which represents workers at the Department of Water and Power, in spending on behalf of Greuel. IBEW Local 18 has put at least $1.45 million into the effort to elect Greuel. The city firefighters union has put another $425,000 into various committees that support Greuel.

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The police union’s contribution was reported a day after Greuel’s campaign suspended its TV advertising, just two weeks before the election. That move reflects Greuel’s continuing struggle to raise enough money to compete head-to-head on the airwaves with her rival, Councilman Eric Garcetti.

Union spending has been a hotly debated issue in the mayor’s race. City leaders have been coping with a major budget crisis and the next mayor will serve on the committee that negotiates salary agreements with the unions that represent police officers, firefighters, DWP workers and thousands of other city employees.

Most city employee unions have lined up behind Greuel, who has criticized opponent Eric Garcetti over his support for budget cuts. Appearing in front of one union, she hit Garcetti for backing layoffs, furloughs and a vote to hike the retirement age for future civilian employees, saying it was not properly negotiated with workers.

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Garcetti has responded by saying he made tough decisions while Greuel sat on the sidelines during a financial crisis.

A handful of unions -- including those that represent longshore workers, supermarket clerks and teachers -- have endorsed Garcetti. Their campaign contributions are a fraction of the amount being spent on Greuel.

In recent weeks, Greuel has said she would sit down with civilian city employees to discuss a hike in the retirement age for existing workers. Budget officials said they would need to provide city employees with a financial benefit of equal value if such a change were sought.

Greuel’s campaign has ties to the police union that go beyond its endorsement and fundraising. Two months ago, a spokesman for the league confirmed that Greuel campaign co-chairman Bob Hertzberg, a former Assembly speaker, had been retained by the union as one of its lawyers.

League spokesman Eric Rose said in March that a team of attorneys at Mayer Brown – including Hertzberg, former Assemblyman Dario Frommer and Tim McOsker, chief of staff to former Mayor James Hahn – were hired by the league to handle “airport security issues.”

“The [union] is not going to disclose the terms or any additional information about the legal work being done by Mayer Brown – including whether or not they are currently retained,” Rose said in an email sent on March 22.

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david.zahniser@latimes.com


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