Jan 29 2013
Last night five candidates hoping to win the votes of Angelenos gathered at UCLA’s Royce Hall in what was called a mayoral debate but appeared to be more of a discussion session. Councilwoman Jan Perry, City Councilman Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, Conservative Radio Talk Show Host Kevin James and Technology Executive Emanuel Pleitez took to the stage to field questions from panel members Carol Shatz of the Central City Association, Frank Gilliam, Jr Dean of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and Russell Goldsmith of the LA Coalition for the Economy and Jobs. With about 5 weeks left before the primary elections, the candidates are hoping to seize the reigns from Antonio Villaraigosa a two term mayor who has served one of the largest and most prominent cities in the world for 8 years.
The continuing effects of the global recession framed the discussion around the city budget, pensions, unemployment and the potential for more jobs being created through the green technology industry. Currently, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles is at around 11.3% or a fifth of the working population, and the city’s budget deficit is predicted to grow. Increasing jobs and reducing pension benefits was at the forefront of the discussion. Also on the agenda was the future of LAX, the possibility of a subway stop at Leimert Park, a living wage and LA’s ever present traffic issues.
The non-partisan primary election will be held on March 5th, but if no candidate is elected with a majority of the votes, then the primaries will be followed by an election of the two top candidates in May. Currently the two candidates leading in endorsements with over $3 million each are Garcetti and Greuel. Conservative candidate, Kevin James who has been getting considerable funding from right wing Texas billionaire Harold Simmons in endorsements is planning to take a more liberal stance on issues.
GUESTS: Madeline Janis, National Policy Director for LAANE or The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Madeline spent 10 years on the Los Angeles City Redevelopment Agency. Marc Haefly, recently retired news editor of the Metropolitan Daily Enterprise and former KPFK host. Howard Blume, co-host of Deadline LA on KPFK Pacifica Radio.