A new stream of endorsements emerged in Los Angeles' mayoral race Wednesday as Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti sought an edge in the May 21 runoff. The backing has two overarching goals – blunting criticism the two Democrats are facing about their ability to confront the most pressing financial problems in the city, and courting voters who supported candidates who did not survive the primary.
Greuel won the backing of former Republican Mayor Richard Riordan, who pledged he would serve as a senior advisor to her administration for a salary of $1 a year. This move, long sought by Greuel, comes as the city controller has faced increased heat about her support by the city’s labor unions and recent statements about her views on pension reductions for newly hired city employees. The latter prompted the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, which has backed Greuel, to call on the controller to explain her position on retirement benefits in person today.
Greuel’s campaign hit back, with a co-chairman of her campaign, former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, promising that Greuel would fight to cut retirement costs at City Hall, including by exploring raising retirement age for existing city employees, a hugely controversial proposal.
Greuel’s rival Garcetti, who edged her in the March 5 primary, also named new endorsements on Wednesday. He picked up the backing of Republican developer Steve Soboroff and an influential African American Democratic club, which could help Garcetti make inroads with two key groups he and Greuel are battling over: white GOP voters in the Valley and black Democrats in South Los Angeles.
In other city races, the candidates seeking to become Los Angeles’ next city attorney clashed in the first runoff debate, with incumbent Carmen Trutanich and challenger Mike Feuer showing they have starkly different visions of the role of the city’s top prosecutor. And the statement for two competing medical marijuana initiatives survived legal challenges to appear unchanged on the May ballot.
-- Seema Mehta
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Photo: Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times