Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA mayor’s race: Voters struggle to decide between similar Garcetti and Greuel

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Los Angeles Mayor race 2013As Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel crisscrossed Los Angeles in search of support Saturday, many voters wrestled to decide between the two Democrats in this non-partisan race for mayor.

“That’s why I’m out here today,” said Mary Lee after a candidate’s forum in South Los Angeles. “I’m trying to make that final decision.”

A poll by the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State LA found 9 percent of likely voters undecided on the mayor’s race. Greuel captured 46 percent support and Garcetti garnered 45 percent – a virtual tie.

“I know Garcetti’s record in Hollywood and many of his economic accomplishments there,” Lee said of the city councilman who represents that area. But she’s also impressed by Greuel’s fiscal record as city controller. Then there’s the gender question.

“Of course, as a woman, I have to say, a lot of times women get the job done,” said Lee, who works at a non-profit that helps parents with special needs children.

The idea of electing the city’s first woman mayor weighs on the mind of Isaac Robinson too.

“Sometimes, I just feel that we need a woman to take over the city,” Robinson said.

After this year’s city elections, the 15-member city council may have just one-woman member.

“Our government is lacking in balance,” he said. “It seems undemocratic to me.”

But Robinson, 75, who restores fine art, appreciates Garcetti’s eloquence.

“When I listen to him talk, he would be the better choice," the voter said. "He has the right demeanor.”

So Robinson remains undecided.

Many voters after the forum sponsored by the South Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils said they would be comfortable with Garcetti or Greuel.

“I think both of them are pretty good candidates,” said Bonnie Douglas. “They have similar ideas.”

What about the possibility of electing the first woman mayor?

“It's exciting to me. But it’s not important," Douglas said. "I want the best candidate for the job.”

As she thinks about who would be the better mayor, Douglas tries to tune out the negative ads.

“It's like, who’s going to be nastier. I just hate that,” she said. “But I guess it works with some people.”

Douglas, 64, votes in every election. She’s rarely this conflicted over the candidates.

“I just might decide in the voting booth this time,” she said.

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