A Los Angeles business group that endorsed mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel has called on her to appear personally to explain statements she made about pensions -- and about reopening talks with City Hall labor unions over reductions in retirement benefits.
Greuel, the city controller, has been attacking opponent Eric Garcetti for weeks over his City Council vote to roll back retirement benefits for new hires, saying he and his colleagues failed to properly negotiate those changes. She went further Friday, telling The Times that she wants to meet with labor leaders to discuss the reduction in benefits “to make sure we get that pension reform that they agree with."
Those remarks alarmed Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President Gary Toebben, who said his organization supported the council's decision to cut pension benefits for newly hired civilian city workers last year. Toebben said he asked Greuel to appear personally before his group to explain herself and disclosed that a Greuel campaign fundraiser scheduled for Thursday by the chamber has been canceled for now.
“We’re going to have a conversation with Wendy to clarify the pension comments,” Toebben said. “And we just didn’t have a sufficient response [from potential guests] at the moment to hold the fundraiser this Thursday. So we are not doing that.”Greuel said Tuesday that the fundraiser had been canceled because potential guests had not been given enough advance notice. And she backed away from some of her previous remarks, including her push for a new round of collective bargaining with employee unions.
In an interview, Greuel said she wants simply to meet with unions to discuss ways to keep them from filing a legal challenge against the pension cuts, not open a new round of negotiations.