L.A. Votes: A feisty debate and the deadline for voter registration
First, a public service announcement: Tuesday is the last day to register to vote if you want to cast a ballot in the March 5 citywide election. So if you are not yet registered, visit https://rtv.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/ to make sure you are eligible to cast a ballot in the city’s mayoral contest and races for council, school board and other posts.
Now, on to the news…
The mayoral candidates met up in a feisty debate Monday night, with just 15 days to go until election day. But unlike their previous televised forums, the gloves came off in this gathering sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute and broadcast on KABC-TV Channel 7.
City Councilman Eric Garcetti repeatedly hammered Controller Wendy Greuel on the backing her mayoral bid has received from a union representing Department of Water and Power workers. It was a new and aggressive posture that reflects the increasing pressure Garcetti faces as Greuel reaps the benefits of more than $1 million in advertising by independent committees funded by that union and others. Councilwoman Jan Perry hit Greuel on the same matter in a new mailer.
The L.A. Police Protective League is spending $300,000 to air a new ad touting Greuel’s bona fides in the race. Team Garcetti is objecting, both over the ad’s claims and that the PPL hadn't yet provided a script to the City Ethics Commission as required under city campaign laws.
Beyond the mayoral contest, several City Council seats are up for grabs. Voters from opposite ends of the San Fernando Valley are preparing to vote in two council races that pit well-known state lawmakers leading in both fundraising and major endorsements against an array of lesser-known contenders.
Endorsements continue to roll in. Greuel announced the support of the Los Angeles Fire Chiefs Assn., while Garcetti netted the endorsement of the League of Humane Voters, an animal rights group. Ana Cubas announced the backing of the Mexican-American Bar Assn. in the 9th District race in South Los Angeles. Matt Szabo, a former aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who is running in the Hollywood area 13th District, announced the support of former Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, as well Conrado Terrazas, chair of the board of directors of El Centro Del Pueblo, and Oscar de la O, executive director of BIENESTAR. John Choi, who is also running in the crowded 13th District, is scheduled to announce Tuesday the support of several Korean Americans, including former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang.
Tuesday appears to be a relatively quiet day on the campaign trail. Greuel will be picking up donations at the Ports O’ Call Restaurant in San Pedro at an evening cocktail reception hosted by Rep. Janice Hahn, who represented the area on the City Council.
The electioneering respite isn't likely to last long.
-- Seema Mehta
Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema
Photo: Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry, and Emanuel Pleitez during a debate at Cal State Los Angeles on Monday. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times