County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky slammed mayoral candidate Jan Perry’s campaign on Monday for a mailer that implies that he opposes Wendy Greuel, the latest in a series of controversial mail pieces put out by the city councilwoman attacking the city controller.
"I am very disappointed that the Jan Perry for Mayor campaign has used one of its mailings to falsely convey the impression that I have taken sides in this year's election for mayor,” Yaroslavsky said in a statement. “In fact, I have remained neutral in this election in thought, word and deed.”
The mailer features a picture of the bespectacled, longtime county supervisor pointing his finger, next to the words, “Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: On Wendy Greuel’s Budget Plans.” Critical quotes from Yaroslavsky that appeared in The Times are highlighted, with the conclusion, “Wendy Greuel: Can’t Be Trusted!”
The mailer says that Yaroslavsky was discussing Greuel’s budget proposal, but the quotes were more narrowly targeted at Greuel’s proposal to increase the size of the city’s police and fire departments.
Yaroslavsky toyed with a mayoral run. Since he decided against it, the three elected officials running have sought his endorsement. He has remained neutral in the March 5 primary and has said he doesn’t know if he will endorse in the runoff.
Yaroslavsky said in his statement that he has been openly frustrated in all of the candidates’ lack of specifics about “the precarious state of the city's finances.”
“Those criticisms have not been exclusively aimed at one candidate. On the contrary, they have been aimed equally at ALL the major candidates who, in my judgment, have not realistically addressed what they would do about the city's financial challenges,” he said. “While my quoted comments are in the public domain, it is not appropriate for the Perry campaign to use them to imply that I endorse or oppose any of the candidates for mayor, because I do not."
[Updated, 2:59 p.m. Feb. 25: The Perry campaign stood by the mailer. “Supervisor Yaroslavsky is an extremely sophisticated individual and exceptional public servant who made his distaste for Wendy Greuel's budget plans and her disregard for the city's current fiscal crisis very clear, and on the public record,” said spokeswoman Helen Sanchez. “The councilwoman's mailer in no way implies the supervisor endorses any candidate; it merely restates his opinion.”]
Perry, who is fiercely trying to win over supporters in Greuel’s home base in the Valley, has been criticized over several mailers in recent weeks. On Friday, two prominent Democratic leaders blasted a mail piece that implied that Greuel was a Republican, despite the fact that she has been a registered Democrat for more than two decades. Mailers that criticized Greuel’s votes on matters that Perry herself voted for led Greuel’s campaign to label Perry a “hypocrite.” A quote from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was used in one Perry mailer aimed at Latino voters to suggest he was backing her candidacy, when he has not endorsed in the contest. Another mailer, directed to areas where the mayor is less popular, characterized Greuel's candidacy as an extension of the Villaraigosa era.
Perry and her campaign have defended the mail pieces as typical, targeted campaigning.
-- Seema Mehta
Photo: Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times