Moving to runoff, Greuel promises to make L.A. more business-friendly
Framing the mayoral runoff race ahead, City Controller Wendy Greuel made her first post-primary stop in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday, using the experience of a business that struggled to get its plans through the city bureaucracy to argue that her top priority would be making Los Angeles a more business-friendly city.
Speaking to reporters at an architectural design firm that struggled with city rules and regulations when it tried to build an innovative facility with features such as a permeable parking lot, Greuel said she had to intercede as a then-City Councilwoman to help get the project off the ground.
“The project was being held up, delayed, stuck in a maze of red tape and bureaucracy,” Greuel said. “Unfortunately, their experience is not an exception. It becomes the rule about how businesses are treated in city government. … So many businesses are forced to close or move to other locations and they are picking up and leaving town. That’s why creating jobs and getting our economy moving again is going to be a top priority [for me] as the next mayor of Los Angeles.”
Greuel said her experience with her own family business, Frontier Building Supply, and watching other firms struggle in Los Angeles motivated her to run for City Council in 2002. The controller cited her work on the council implementing business tax reform as an example of the kinds of initiatives she would pursue as mayor.
“When I learn about businesses that want to relocate to L.A., I’m going to pick up the phone and encourage them to move here,” she said. “When I hear businesses are frustrated, I’m going to pick up the phone and tell them, how can I help you solve your problem?”
Though she was flanked by business leaders during her visit to Wet Design, a company that has designed water fountains and installations such as those at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Greuel continued to face media questions about the independent spending on her behalf by labor unions.
Greuel sought to turn those queries into an attack on her rival, Eric Garcetti, noting that the main independent group supporting her, which is known as Working Californians, has the financial backing of labor unions as well as Hollywood interests. (Greuel was an executive at DreamWorks before she ran for City Council in 2002).
The controller has alleged that labor groups support her because they do not trust Garcetti to keep his word. She has not outlined specific charges publicly about Garcetti's interactions with labor.
Jeff Millman, a Garcetti spokesman, said the Greuel campaign "doesn't even know what she's talking about."
"They can't back up her quote with facts," he said.
During her news conference, Greuel argued that business groups “often don’t agree with labor leaders, and labor leaders often don’t agree with the business groups that have endorsed me, but what they will say to you is: Wendy will tell us ‘I’m not going to be there with you on this issue, because here’s what the problem [is] and I’m not going to support that.’ ”
“My opponent waits a long time to make that decision, and tells people they’re going to go one way and goes another,” she said.
Garcetti’s campaign rejected that characterization. Millman argued that Greuel has attracted the support of those labor and business groups because she "represents the status quo."
"Instead of rewarding lobbyists, Eric will be an independent mayor focused on solving problems and making City Hall work for L.A. residents," he said.
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-- Maeve Reston