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Category: Koreatown

L.A. Votes: Last-weekend barbs and poll results

Approaching Tuesday's vote, a USC Price/L.A. Times poll found Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel close to a tie for the lead. However, a large number of voters who say they could still change their minds could yet swing who makes the May runoff to be the city’s next mayor.

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Jan Perry and Kevin James are effectively tied for third place, according to the survey of likely voters, with James possibly losing support because of an ad created by an independent committee that is supporting his bid.Election Memo

The Times scrutinized the education platforms of the mayoral candidates, who spent the weekend trading barbs as they skittered around Los Angeles courting voters in what is expected to be a low-turnout contest.

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The most recent campaign financial disclosures showing that Greuel has been the beneficiary of a deluge of outside spending, much of it from unions representing city workers, prompting her rivals to question whether she'll be forced to return to the favor if she is elected mayor. During their final debate before the primary, Perry and Garcetti hammered Greuel about the matter, and she countered that she was not beholden to any group.

In another issue on Tuesday's ballot, the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy/L.A. Times Los Angeles City Primary Poll also found that a slim majority of Angelenos supports a sales-tax measure on the ballot.

Outside spending is playing a major role in school board races in Los Angeles, and the use of standardized testing has emerged as a flash point.

WHERE THEY STAND: Los Angeles mayoral candidates in their own words

The USC Price/L.A. Times poll, which surveyed 500 likely voters from Feb. 24 to 27, also found City Atty. Carmen Trutanich struggling in his reelection bid. The incumbent has filed an ethics complaint against rival Mike Feuer.

With the sole woman on Los Angeles’ City Council leaving in June because of term limits, a handful of women are trying win a spot on the council but face uphill battles against better-funded men.

The race to replace termed-out Councilman Ed Reyes features two men with similar goals for revitalizing the 1st council district, but different political histories.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

In other coverage, columnist Steve Lopez visits the Korean Resource Center in Koreatown, which has pushed up voting rates among Korean Americans. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne looks at the city’s most embarrassing civic-architecture and urban-planning failures, and advises the next mayor how to fix them.

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L.A. Now Live: Mayoral, council races heat up on eve of election day

-- Seema Mehta

Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema 

Photo: City Controller Wendy Greuel gets down to the level of Sam Damico, 4, from Sherman Oaks, during a campaign stop at the Encino Farmer's Market on Sunday. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Former building inspector accused in federal bribery case

The U.S. attorney's office filed a bribery charge against a former inspector at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety on Wednesday, making him the third employee of the agency to face criminal prosecution in two years.

Samuel In, 65, agreed to plead guilty to a single count of felony bribery stemming from a 2008 incident in which he accepted $5,000 in cash from a Koreatown businessman, according to documents filed in federal court.

As part of his plea agreement, In admitted accepting more than $30,000 worth of bribes involving at least a dozen properties that he handled in his official capacity between March 2007 and December 2010, Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Akrotirianakis said. All were in or around Koreatown.

The plea agreement depicts In, who was fluent in Korean, as someone who took advantage of a businessman whose own limited language ability made it hard for him to navigate the city’s permitting process. In has "admitted that he used his official position to solicit monetary payments from people who had limited abilities in speaking English,” Akrotirianakis said.

If convicted, In could receive up to 10 years in prison and be fined $250,000.The case comes three years after the FBI launched an undercover sting operation into bribes given in exchange for building permits. Two department employees pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in 2011 and were sentenced to prison. At least two others have been fired in the wake of the probe, although one is fighting his termination, city officials said.

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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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