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L.A. Votes: Greuel fights back; reformer tries to tilt school races

Wendy Greuel participates in a mayoral debate at the Cal State Los Angeles on Monday. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

With the clock ticking down to election day, the Los Angeles mayor’s race is getting testy.Election Memo

Controller Wendy Greuel, who for weeks has been the target of her rivals' slings and arrows, hit back at City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry. In a scathing mailer featuring pictures of wooden Pinocchios, Greuel says her two foes are lying about her record to distract from their own.

Meanwhile, Republican Kevin James continued to hammer Greuel, this time accusing her of stonewalling in responding to a public records request for information about her communications with the head of a powerful union that represents Department of Water and Power employees. That union has put $700,000 into an independent committee backing Greuel.

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A political action committee for StudentsFirst, an organization run by controversial education-reform advocate Michelle Rhee, put $250,000 into an effort to elect three candidates to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s board, two of whom are opposed by the teachers union. It’s not the largest contribution to the race, that came from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is spending $1 million to back the same candidates. It does, however, demonstrate the former District of Columbia schools chancellor’s willingness to step into local races since moving to California.

In other education-related news, Garcetti received the endorsement of the California Federation of Teachers, who joined the United Teachers-Los Angeles in backing him. Meanwhile, Greuel announced the backing of Rep. Linda Sanchez and the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles.

In the race for city attorney, Mike Feuer weighed in with a mailer pleading with voters to not confuse his opponent Greg Smith, with Greig Smith, the former Valley councilman who is backing him.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

Thursday is a busy day on the campaign trail. The candidates vying to replace Greuel as city controller will debate in the evening at the theater of the AT&T Center downtown. And the candidates for District 1 city council seat will take part in a forum in Chinatown.

And the money race continues. Financial disclosure reports about the latest fundraising reports are due Thursday, giving one measure of the candidates' momentum going into the final days before the March 5 election. 

In that vein, Garcetti will hold two fundraisers Thursday night, one called Latinos por Garcetti at Las Parilla restaurant, and another in Brentwood hosted by business people and the descendants of the creators of the Crustacean restaurants (whose catering arm is providing food for the party). Garlic crab and noodles for all.

[For the record, 4:59 p.m., Feb. 21: A previous version of this post said $250,000 had been donated by Rhee. The money was actually given by a committee of her organization StudentsFirst.]

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-- Seema Mehta

Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema 

Photo: Wendy Greuel participates in a mayoral debate at Cal State Los Angeles on Monday. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times

 
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