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L.A. mayoral hopefuls admit their flaws at candidates forum

January 30, 2013 |  9:27 am

It’s no small task to get candidates for mayor of Los Angeles to admit their flaws, but Rabbi David Wolpe succeeded on Tuesday night.

“What are you bad at?” Wolpe asked, drawing laughs from several hundred spectators at a candidates forum at Sinai Temple in Westwood.

The first concession came from Emanuel Pleitez, an executive at Spokeo, a technology firm that sells personal data.

“My biggest flaw is that I sometimes forget to think about some of the little things in management,” he said.

Next came Wendy Greuel, the city controller, who joked that her husband, Dean Schramm, thinks she’s perfect.

“One of the hardest things for me is delegating,” she said on a more serious note. “I like sometimes to take responsibility myself. And sometimes you need to delegate and say, you know what, there are others who can do this as well.”

Eric Garcetti, a city councilman, said he’d rarely heard his rivals be so concise, “and I’ll be really brief too.” He mentioned his part-time work as a Naval Reserve officer and his role as a new father, saying it was a challenge to stop “trying to do everything.”

“It’s a constant struggle to say, look, three really important things are better than 10 half-done,” he said.

City Councilwoman Jan Perry said her biggest shortcoming was not knowing “when to turn it off and stop.”

She takes late-night work calls at home, but would rather not.

“I need to set up boundaries,” she said.

Kevin James, a lawyer and former host of a radio show, said, “Some might say I talk too much.”

“We would never say that,” Greuel interrupted.

James went on to say he was “quite impatient at times.”

The rabbi pressed further with his attempt to get the candidates to dump their talking points. Which opponent, Wolpe asked, would each support if they were not running themselves?

Perry, a USC alumnus, opted for Pleitez.

“Emanuel, you inspire me because of your youth, your enthusiasm, your intelligence -- in spite of the fact that you went to Stanford,” said Perry, a USC alumnus.

But everyone else voted for Perry.

Greuel, who served with Perry on the City Council for seven years, said Perry “doesn’t take no for an answer.”

Garcetti said she “fights for what she believes in.”

James said Perry was willing to expose City Hall’s “backroom deals.”

And Pleitez gave her credit for admitting mistakes.

“Well,” Wolpe told Perry afterward, “I’d say If they withdraw, you’ve got it made.”

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-- Michael Finnegan

Twitter: @finneganlatimes

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