Most of What You Need to Know About the LA Mayor’s Election


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LA 2013 Mayoral Primary Candidates

From left: Wendy Greuel, Kevin Hames, Eric Garcetti, Emanuel Pleitez, and Jan Perry. After tonight, only two will remain in the race.

Most of what you need to know about today’s LA Mayoral election (along with City Attorney, City Controller, Council Members, and School Board) — the polls for which close in about a minute as I publish this — can be found on a single page of a single website: The “Neon Tommy” (site affiliated with USC’s Annenberg School of Communication) list of the “10 Wackiest Mailers from L.A.’s Mayoral Race.”

(I didn’t say that this was all that you needed to know — just most of it.  And, strictly speaking, most of you don’t really need to know any of it.  Still, being part of “Greater Los Angeles,” as we are — why not give it a shot?  You’ll be surprised how much you learn.)

I’m not going to steal the cool graphics of the mailers that Neon Tommy provides (here the part of Neon Tommy is being played by Staff Reporter Edward Loera) not the interesting text.  Nope, just the facts: click the link up there if you want more.  (Note: I had not seen any of these mailers before reading this article, nor have I seen any exit polls or other polls tonight.)

  1. Wendy Greuel campaign attacking Eric Garcetti in mailer entitled “The Tall Tales of Prince Eric Garcetti,” depicting him as Prince Charming and a storyteller.
  2. Wendy Greuel campaign attacking Jan Perry for twice declaring bankruptcy (once, though this goes unmentioned) after a finances-upending divorce), depicting her as fiscally irresponsible.
  3. Jan Perry campaign attacking Wendy Greuel for being bought out by outside special interest money.
  4. Eric Garcetti campaign attacking Wendy Greuel for her proposed budget plans and denying that she actually eliminated millions of dollars of wasteful spending.
  5. Wendy Greuel campaign attacking Eric Garcetti, shown as an Oscar award, for winning “Worst Performance by a Politician in a Leading Role.”
  6. Wendy Greuel campaign attacking Eric Garcetti, in a mailer modeled on “Nightmare on Elm Street,” for winning awards such as  “Worst Use of Public Funds,” “Worst Economic Failure,” and “Worst Ethics.”
  7. Wendy Greuel campaign attacking Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, using Pinocchio imagery, for both of their insisting that her proudly proclaimed victories against waste were not real.
  8. Jan Perry campaign attacking Wendy Greuel for having been (and allegedly at heart still being) a Republican.  (I would have said “implicitly,” but the use of the elephant symbol is explicit.)
  9. Wendy Greuel campaign attacking Eric Garcetti for having been a stockholder in Clear Channel and worrying only about profit.
  10. Jan Perry campaign attacking Wendy Greuel for entitlements she received as a city official, for working for special interests, and for corruptly using L.A.’s “ticket dismissal program” to help political insiders close to her beat parking tickets.

Obviously, I don’t know that this is a representative sample of mailers, but it’s what a reporter covering the race thought was newsworthy.  So, if these are pretty representative, what have we learned from the above?

  1. These three candidates are the front-runners.
  2. Wendy Greuel is spending a lot of money on mailers.
  3. Wendy Greuel’s mailers seem largely focused on Eric Garcetti.
  4. Wendy Greuel’s mailers use a coherent theme of attacking Garcetti using “Hollywood” themes.
  5. Wendy Greuel’s mailers attacking Garcetti are very “high-concept,” showing lots of consultant involvement, and what would be best remembered of them seems to be sort of general insults.
  6. Wendy Greuel also spends some money attacking Jan Perry’s management skills and (vaguely) her honesty.
  7. Jan Perry’s mailers seem largely focused on Wendy Greuel
  8. Jan Perry’s mailers use a common theme of attacking Wendy Greuel’s ethics and conservatism.
  9. Eric Garcetti’s sole mailer listed specifically attacks Wendy Greuel’s campaign claims and promises (and, not noted above, prominently features his LA Times endorsement.)
  10. So what do we learn from this dynamic?  Greuel (most mailers) and Garcetti (most frequent target) seem to be the front-runners.  Greuel seems to think that Garcetti is going to make the runoff and so focuses more attention on him.  She has the resources (or at least the inclination) to attack Perry as well, pretty brutally, and Perry’s attacks on her are also on the nasty side.  My guess from the above?  Greuel is the front-runner from the primary, but probable-opponent Garcetti is more likely to pick up Perry’s support in the runoff.  Of course, there’s also about thirteen billion five other Mayoral candidates out there, so Perry’s voters aren’t the only ones up for grabs.  Republican Kevin James’s voters might tend towards Greuel, but in a Democratic city that is not necessarily a good thing.
[Disclosure: I spoke to Wendy Greuel yesterday by phone when she called me to lobby her for an endorsement in next week’s post-election LA County Party Central Committee meeting.  (I’m an ex officio member because the district in which I ran for State Senate included LA County.)  I did not agree to support her, but I did agree to accept another call from her sometime over the next week.  I’ll agree to do the same for her opponent.]


About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Runs for office sometimes, so far to offer a challenge to someone nasty who would otherwise have run unopposed. Someday he might pick a fight intending to win it rather than just to dent someone. You'll know it when you see it. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. A family member works part-time as a campaign treasurer. He doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he hated. He does advise some local campaigns informally and generally without compensation. If that changes, he will declare the interest. He also runs a less frequently published blog called "The Brean," for his chosen hometown, where he is now fighting with its wealthiest and most avaricious citizen-donors. This just seems to be his way.