Riordan endorses Greuel, joins campaign as an advisor
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan on Wednesday endorsed Wendy Greuel and joined her mayoral campaign as a senior advisor on economic issues.
Riordan, a Republican who has called for a major overhaul of the city’s pension system and who supported Republican Kevin James in the primary, said Greuel asked him to help better connect the business community and organized labor on financial issues facing the city .
"I think she sees that you’ve got to bring everybody together,” Riordan said.
Riordan said his role would be to help Greuel “solve the problems of the city.”
The endorsement could help Greuel capture fiscal conservatives, a demographic largely up for grabs after James' defeat in the primary.
For months, Riordan has been warning that spiraling pension costs have placed the city on the brink of bankruptcy. He pushed unsuccessfully for a ballot measure that would require all new city employees to rely on 401(k)-style retirement plans instead of guaranteed pensions.
In contrast, Greuel has spent weeks attacking her opponent Eric Garcetti and the City Council for hiking the retirement age and rolling back the size of pension benefits for newly hired city workers on the grounds that collective bargaining was not used in those negotiations.
Riordan’s announcement came the day after Greuel received the endorsement of the 600,000-member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. She also locked up the support of an array of city unions after she argued that the council failed to properly negotiate those pension changes with union leaders. That argument is now a key element in a challenge filed by union officials, who are hoping to overturn the pension reductions before they take effect July 1.
Garcetti said that the council’s pension vote, which is aimed at saving $4 billion over 30 years, was the right one.
-- Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Former Mayor Richard Riordan in November 2012. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times