Bob Hertzberg wrapped his big arms around Wendy Greuel today, metaphorically, endorsing her campaign to be the next mayor of Los Angeles.
Hertzberg, the former Assembly speaker, finished third in the 2005 mayor's race -- and first in the Valley. So it's natural that he'd back a fellow Valley politician in Wendy Greuel.
And yet it may also be a sign that folks are not waiting around for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to decide whether to run. Hertzberg and Yaroslavsky have had a good relationship, and worked arm-in-arm to find the funding for the Orange Line busway.
"I like him tremendously," Hertzberg tells the Weekly. "But obviously he hasn't gotten in."
Hertzberg said he's been impressed that Greuel has expanded her campaign beyond her natural base in the San Fernando Valley, working too win voters all across the city.
"Wendy has earned her stripes," Hertzberg said. "She's got the DNA for it. She's smart and a great listener."
He didn't always feel that way. When Greuel first ran for city council, in 2001, Hertzberg backed her opponent, Tony Cardenas, with whom he had served in the Legislature.
Greuel also announced the support today of John Mack, a veteran police commissioner, and Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers.
As for Yaroslavsky, one of his most ardent backers has been Rick Taylor, a lobbyist and former Yaroslavsky chief deputy. In an interview last week, Taylor said he still expects his former boss to get into the race -- but said that he has to do it by Sept. 15.
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"You gotta be in by then," Taylor said. "If not, even Rick might have to rethink his position."
If Yaroslavsky runs, Taylor said that Parke Skelton would serve as his campaign consultant. Skelton, who declined to comment, does not have another candidate in the race.
Candidates for mayor must file a declaration of intention to run by Nov. 10. The primary will be in March and the runoff will be held in May.
Also in the race are Councilman Eric Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry, and former radio host Kevin James.