L.A. Votes: Candidates face scrutiny, new ads, funding deadline
With one week until Election Day, every move by the mayoral candidates is being closely scrutinized for signs of what they believe is happening among voters below the radar in what is expected to be a low-turnout election. And no one is being watched more closely at the moment than Jan Perry, who is waging a blistering mail campaign against Wendy Greuel.
Greuel’s recent decision to respond may signal that Perry is making headway in the five-candidate contest. But the aggressive, and some would argue questionable, nature of Perry’s mail campaign is drawing scrutiny as well, with county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky the latest to speak out about the Perry campaign’s tactics.
Perry was also the subject of the latest Times profile in a series about turning points in the candidates' lives. For the veteran city councilwoman, the decision to attend a Rose Bowl game shifted her life’s trajectory.
Meanwhile, Eric Garcetti’s ability to make tough decisions faces scrutiny by some who say his desire for compromise can cause problems for the city councilman that would be exacerbated if he was mayor.
The money and ad wars continue in the race.
Better Way L.A., an independent committee backing Republican Kevin James’ bid, received a $200,000 donation that will allow it to continue airing television ads on James’ behalf. The Super PAC had been in jeopardy of running out of money at a crucial time, and James himself had said he would welcome another infusion of cash from the Texas billionaire who has largely bankrolled the effort. His desires were answered, but by a different Texas billionaire. (Those Texans have a rather notable interest in California, no?)
In a sign of the importance of the Latino vote in next week’s contest, Garcetti and Emanuel Pleitez took to the Spanish-language airwaves with new ads.
The next reporting deadline for fundraising is Wednesday night, so the candidates are feverishly trying to pump up their dollar figures for the last finance report before Election Day. Michael Reagan, the son of late President Reagan, weighed in with a request for James. Houston Mayor Annise Parker put out a call for Greuel, who has two fundraisers planned today.
Garcetti, meanwhile, sent out an Obama-esque email to supporters with the subject line “Unbelievable,” railing against special-interest spending in the race and urging voters to pledge their support to him.
In the city attorney’s race, incumbent Carmen Trutanich and former lawmaker Mike Feuer hammered each other during a radio debate on KCRW-FM (89.9)'s "Which Way, L.A.?" Feuer continued to call Trutanich's tenure a failure and Trutanich derided Feuer's lack of courtroom experience, a message he echoed in a television ad released Monday. All this occurred as the campaign of Greg Smith, a largely self-funded, dark horse candidate, appeared to gain steam with a stream of new endorsements.
Seven days to go.
-- Seema Mehta
Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema
Photo: Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, from left, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry and Emanuel Pleitez appear at a candidate debate at Loyola Marymount University on Feb. 5. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times