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Villaraigosa plans 'real close look' at mayoral runoff candidates

March 7, 2013 | 12:30 pm

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday he still has not decided whether to endorse one of the two candidates in the May 21 mayoral election -- but plans to take a "real close look" at both contenders.

Appearing at an event in which  he announced his support for City Council candidate Nury Martinez, Villaraigosa said he might weigh in later in the race between City Council President Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

“At this point, I can’t tell you that I will endorse,” he said. “I may. I also may stay out. Because I think it’s important that whatever happens, that I have a good relationship with the next mayor. I’m going to support whoever wins whether or not I vote for them.”

At least 70 current and former Villaraigosa appointees have coalesced around Greuel, according to a Times analysis completed earlier this year. Key Villaraigosa advisers have been holding fundraisers for her. Meanwhile, two longtime Villaraigosa campaign consultants are with Working Californians, the campaign committee closely aligned with the Department of Water and Power union, which spent $2 million to promote Greuel and attack three of her opponents.

Villaraigosa offered praise for candidates who did not make the runoff -– Councilwoman Jan Perry, former prosecutor Kevin James and former tech executive Emanuel Pleitez, saying he respected that they “put themselves as a candidate before the world.” He also said he has “a very good relationship” with both Greuel and Garcetti.

“Now that it’s narrowed down to two individuals, I think we’re going to take a real close look,” he said. “We should all have a conversation about what we want the next mayor to do, what are the characteristics we expect in the next mayor. And I think we will be able to do that.”

Villaraigosa gave his remarks while standing next to Martinez, who is running to replace former Councilman Tony Cardenas -- now a member of Congress -- in the San Fernando Valley in a May 21 special primary election. Martinez is running against Cindy Montanez, one of Villaraigosa’s former commissioners, who has been working in recent years as a high-level official at the DWP.

As he gave his endorsement, Villaraigosa praised Martinez as someone who is not a "weather vane" who does what is politically popular. Asked whether he was referring to Martinez's opponent, he said no.

"I was referring to politicians as a general proposition. I was not referring to Cindy. Cindy's a good person," he said.

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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Twitter.com/DavidZahniser

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