By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
It's after 10 p.m. at Monty Bar, a hip locale just west of downtown. Angel Alvarez is at the bar, holding a shot of Jack Daniels, a suit jacket hanging from his pinkie. A few hundred young Latinos have jammed the place for Eric Garcetti's birthday, but the candidate has yet to arrive.
Alvarez has a goatee and says he works in finance, by which he means he does a lot of day-trading with his own money. "I just need a computer, a phone and a TV," he says. "I watch CNBC all day."
His top concern is inflation. As for local issues, he says he wants "a business mayor ... somebody with fiscal discipline." He describes himself as "a strong Garcetti lean" but says he hasn't decided for sure.
"Let him work a little harder," Alvarez says. "You want to give him the raise at the end of the year, not the beginning. Let him earn it."
This morning's paper has another lead story about the race — "TV Ads Giving Greuel the Edge." But nobody in the crowd seems overly concerned about Greuel's union war chest. "That's powerful, but it may not be a good thing," Alvarez says.
Garcetti arrives. He climbs up on the stage and pets the bison head hanging on the wall. He's in an ebullient mood for a guy who did 15 events today. "I'm gazing at a roomful of angels!" he shouts, as cheers go up. The crowd sings a rendition of "Las Mañanitas," the Mexican birthday song, and then Garcetti starts dancing with a plump, 56-year-old janitor.
The typical Angeleno is either a Mexican with a future or an Iowan with a past. Greuel and Garcetti are campaigning in those parallel realities.
Garcetti wants to be the mayor of a polyglot metropolis — a place where all the world's peoples converge to drink craft beer and launch tech startups. Greuel represents the flip side of L.A. — the Midwestern capital full of sensible moms who roll up their sleeves and get things done. Her mother came here from Texas City, Ill., as a 20-year-old divorcee; her paternal grandfather came from outside of Chicago. Eric Garcetti brags of being "doble mestizo" — his forebears include a Russian Jewish clothier and an Italian-born judge who was hanged in the Mexican Revolution. Wendy Greuel is a mixture of northern and downstate Illinois.
Which vision of the city wins out will be determined by an inscrutable function of the public mood and the candidates' ability to tell their story.
It may also come down to how voters feel about union bosses like Brian D'Arcy.
"Would we love to have that [IBEW] money? Sure," says Daniel Tamm, a Garcetti supporter. But not having it has its own advantages, he says. "When [voters] hear a super PAC is behind a candidate, they get the heebie-jeebies."
One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure the relationship of the IBEW and Wendy Greuel. They have put in over $500,000 for an independent campaign to support Wendy. Of course they expect a pay back in the years ahead.
LA Weekly has done a marvelous job covering this election. This story on D'Arcy is way ahead of anything the LA Times or Daily News has done on the election. I hope voters are going online to follow the campaign in the LA Weekly newspaper.
Funny thing is one a macro scale the right wing war on unions looks wrong but on the micro level of LA government the unions do have way to much power and influence resulting in these absurd double dipping pensions and high salaries etc etc.
But its a democratic show and all the realistic candidates are insiders and won't get elected without union support so how is anything going to change?
Final rant - lets make the fire department's only job fighting fires. Create a new department dedicated to saving little old ladies that fall down so instead of having 15 firefighters show up in 2 big trucks you have 2 guys in an ambulance show up - saving how many billions a year????
@ketchy . DWP rates in the Valley are sky high. They would be much lower if the City Hall politicians weren't in the back pocket of the union that represents the DWP workers. The article made it clear that Wendy Greuel is in the back pocket of the DWP union. She allows their lobbyist to have free access to her and her office. What more do we need to know?
A tough negotiator would achieve a fair deal for the workers but also the rate payers (voters) who own the DWP. Wendy is going to give them a huge raise to pay back their investment in her campaign, and that funding will be passed onto the city rate payers (voters). No thanks.
The article made it crystal clear. If you want a higher water and power bill, vote for Wendy.
This is corruption at its peak, it is ridiculous that the DWP bosses make more than the mayor, it is just criminal to hear of something like that. If we elect Wendy Gruel or Garcetti, we will have more of the same, maybe it is time to elect someone that is outside of this dirty politics pool, someone like Kevin James, someone who is going to make fair pension deals that eliminate special benefits and unnecessary health benefits that are currently increasing our city deficit. If anyone is passionate on restoring LA and interested in volunteering for Kevin James, visit volunteerforkevin.wordpress.com
Great article! Thank you for debunking the Greuel fiscal conservancy myth, and for shedding light on her comfortable relationship with the DWP
A must read piece, esp for anyone that's paid a DWP bill. Who sez journalism is on the wane? Good job connecting the dots here, Maddeus.
There's a rumor going around that when Garcetti didn't get the DWP endorsement, he started crying. Does anyone know if this is true? If so, please let me know....
Thanks for warning us about this Wendy Greuel. The last thing we need is another Mayor that's owned by the DWP union. Our rates out here in the Valley are already high enough. In fact they're ridiculously high for a utility that's owed by the taxpayers. Now I see why, so we can pick up that inflated salaries of the union bosses.
I won't be voting for Wendy Greuel or anyone who's owned by these public employee unions. We've stomped out their propositions in the past and plan on doing it again next month.
I doubt that he'll join that rat-pack.
And don't forget to kill Prop. A, Tony Villar's brilliant effort to pay for union pensions on the backs of the city's lowest classes.
@Fred_Ward What utility is going to give you lower rates than DWP? Everyone I know with SCE has higher rates than I pay with DWP.
Not Kevin James. And while you're at it, don't forget the kill the union-backed Prop. A., Villaraigosa's brilliant effort to put a tax increase on the back of the city's lowest classes.