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L.A. mayoral candidate Garcetti releases Spanish-language TV ad

February 11, 2013 |  7:11 pm

City Councilman Eric Garcetti released a Spanish-language advertisement Monday and is sending out brochures highlighting his Latino heritage and Southern California upbringing as he seeks the Latino vote in the upcoming mayoral election.

Fellow candidate and Councilwoman Jan Perry, meanwhile, continues to blanket mailboxes across the city, sending out new mailers in three languages and lobbing another attack against rival Wendy Greuel, the city controller.

And Greuel rolled out former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton's endorsement of her proposal to increase the city's police and fire forces as she was buffeted by criticism over the plan.

All this reflects the increasing intensity in the mayor’s race, with mail-in voting underway and 22 days left until the March 5 primary.

The new Garcetti ad, the first Spanish-language spot in the race, will begin airing Monday evening or Tuesday, according to his campaign, which declined to specify the size of the purchase. The ad is a duplicate of the English-language ad he began airing Friday, though it features Garcetti speaking in Spanish.

Candidates are sometimes criticized for simply translating their ads into other languages rather than tailoring them to a specific audience, but political observers expected Garcetti would not run into this problem because he is a fluent Spanish speaker and because the ad is a general introductory spot.

“If he does this again, he'll likely have to be a bit more specific on key issues for the Latino community.  But … this works as a broad televised intro to the Spanish-speaking community,” said Jaime A. Regalado, emeritus political science professor at California State L.A.

Garcetti is also sending four-page glossy brochures to Latino households, featuring pictures of his parents and paternal grandparents, as well as images of the candidate as a child, playing baseball and donning a firefighter's hat.

“A Fourth-Generation Angeleno: Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Eric’s childhood was spent playing little league and visiting his grandfather at his barbershop in South L.A. Those experiences inspired him to make sure the promise of Los Angeles works for everyone,” the brochure says in Spanish and English.

The Latino vote is critical, having amounted to 25% of the electorate in the 2005 mayoral election, and all of the candidates are competing mightily for it.

Long-shot candidate Emanuel Pleitez plans to have a press conference Tuesday morning on the steps of City Hall, criticizing Garcetti for receiving campaign contributions from three donors who also supported what Pleitez’s spokesman called “anti-immigration” politicians or measures.

Perry recently sent out Spanish-language mailers featuring the backing of former Councilman Mike Hernandez, as well as letters in Korean and Armenian. She also continued to blast Greuel, this time in a mailer that alleges that the controller sided with developers over fixed-income seniors during her tenure on the council.

The cover featured a picture of an elderly woman and the words “Who Will Stand Up for Her?” On the other side, the mailer says “Not Wendy Greuel!” and says that Greuel supported the demolition of 1,534 affordable housing units for seniors, resulting in thousands of seniors being thrown on the streets.

A spokesman for Greuel touted her record working on affordable housing while serving in former Mayor Tom Bradley’s administration and working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton.

"This is hypocrisy at its worst,” said spokesman Dave Jacobson. “Coming from someone who's bought and paid for by developers and who has a record of being the queen of overdevelopment -- it's ludicrous that Jan would even question Wendy's record.”

Greuel has also drawn criticism over a proposal to increase the city's fire and police force from opponents who say she hasn't explained how the cash-strapped city could pay for such a move. She countered Monday with an announcement that Bratton backed her plan.

“Per geographic mile, Los Angeles is one of the most under-policed cities in America. Wendy's support for the much-needed and for-too-long-delayed expansion and investment in the LAPD is just what Los Angeles needs to ensure an economically viable and safe city," Bratton said in a statement.

Rival candidate Kevin James is among those who have criticized Greuel's proposal. The cash-strapped Republican will be the beneficiary of a Bevery Hills fundraiser later this month hosted by former Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, developer Ed Roski Jr. and Alana Stewart, according to an invitation filed with the city over the weekend.

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-- Seema Mehta

twitter.com/LATSeema

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