Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA mayoral race 2013: Stakes high for candidates in televised Los Angeles mayoral debate

LA Mayoral Candidates

Frank Stotlze/KPCC

Los Angeles Mayoral candidates (from left) Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Emanuel Pleitez, and Jan Perry.


The five top candidates for Los Angeles mayor face off Monday night in a live TV debate at UCLA’s Royce Hall. It’s by no means the first time they’ve met. But this is live TV, so it’s a chance to see how they perform under bright lights and many more thousands of eyeballs.

“There’s a lot more pressure,” said Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. “If you make a mistake at a community forum, you can contextualize it later. It's harder to do that on live TV.”

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti remain the front-runners in this race. They’ve raised the most money – about $3.6 million each – and topped the early polls.

It's worth noting Garcetti has harbored his money more than Greuel. He has $3.5 million in “cash on hand.” Greuel has $2.9 million. (Both have received the maximum in city matching funds —  $667,000.)   


Greuel inches closer to Garcetti in fundraising race

Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti

Wendy Greuel Campaign/Eric Garcetti campaign

City Controller Wendy Greuel is closing the fundraising gap against City Councilman Eric Garcetti in the L.A. mayor's race.

As the March 5 city election gets closer, candidates are required to file campaign finance reports more frequently. In reports submitted Thursday — covering just the first 19 days in January —  City Controller Wendy Greuel collected more than fellow frontrunner Councilman Eric Garcetti.

Greuel pulled in $127,500 and Garcetti $80,500 during the period. They've been fundraising since 2011 and remain quite close: Garcetti has pulled in $3.68 million, Gruel $3.6 million.

City Councilwoman Jan Perry has collected less than half that amount. She raised just over $16,000 in early January and is close to passing the $1.49 million mark.

Greuel and Garcetti get to collect the maximum amount of public matching campaign funds of $667,000 each for the primary. Perry gets $568,000 in matching funds. Citywide, taxpayers are putting $2.4 million into matching funds in the mayor's race.


Maven's Morning Coffee: the powers of the LA mayor, neighborhood councils grow up, Carmen Trutanich calls himself independent, gorillas in the CD 11 mist

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

KPCC looks at why being mayor of Los Angeles is far from leading Chicago or New York, where mayors have greater control.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Friday, Jan. 25, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


KPCC looks at the powers of the Los Angeles mayor. "The limits on mayoral power are the result of California’s progressive era early in the 20th century.  Those limits mean successful mayors must avoid a top-down leadership style and focus on building relationships," according to the station.

Neighborhood councils are flexing their muscles and coming into their own, according to the Daily News. The latest example came with City Hall's proposed $3 billion road repair bond. Neighborhood councils called for a 60-day delay and were able to create a dialogue around the measure.


How much power comes with being LA's mayor?

Former Los Angeles Mayor James Toberman served six one-year terms in the late 19th Century.

Tom LaBonge

Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge on the balcony atop City Hall.

Atop City Hall, in what’s known as the Tom Bradley Tower, portraits of L.A. mayors adorn the walls.  Councilman Tom LaBonge, as usual, can hardly contain his excitement.
“Its Toberman! James Toberman,” LaBonge exclaims.

LaBonge, the city’s unofficial historian, reads the plaque below the man with a bushy white handlebar mustache who served six, one-year terms in the late 19thcentury.

“He got Main Street paved for the first time," says LaBonge, "and he turned out a new electrical system.”

But in the pantheon of best-known big city mayors in the United States, historians often point elsewhere. They cite Chicago’s Richard Daley and New York’s Fiorello La Guardia.  

It's easy to understand why, says Raphe Sonenshein, director of Cal State L.A.’s Pat Brown Institute. They wielded more power.


Another California Democrat says it's up to the White House on climate change

Henry Waxman

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman says it's up to the president to act on climate change.

Congressional Democrats say it's up to President Obama to use his executive powers to fight climate change. That's the message from California's top environmental Democrats.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) was the chief architect of the climate change bill passed by the House three years ago. That measure died in the Senate.

But Waxman, who's the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, says Congress hasn't been interested in acting on climate issues since Republicans became the majority in the House.

Instead, he's calling on the President to develop a plan for the administration to take action on fighting greenhouse gas emissions.

President should act on his own

Waxman insists the President has "an enormous amount of authority" to do that — and to do it with Congressional help.