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LA mayor's race: Tracking the TV ads (updated, videos)

Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are both investing heavily in TV ads in the final days before Tuesday's runoff election.
Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are both investing heavily in TV ads in the final days before Tuesday's runoff election.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013May 18: With the final weekend of campaigning underway before Tuesday's runoff, both campaigns are flooding the airwaves with new ads.

In her latest ad, Wendy Gruel takes advantage of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's criticism of a video from an independent committee backing Eric Garcetti. That video notes Greuel's past as a registered Republican and attempts to tie her to former Gov. Pete Wilson and his controversial support of Proposition 187 (see May 15 entry below). A spokesperson for the committee backing Garcetti said Saturday it stands by the video, which remains online.

It should be noted that the mayor also was critical of an ad sponsored by Huntington Park physician Feliciano Serrano that questions Garcetti's Latino-ness (see May 16 entry below). Villaraigosa has not endorsed either candidate.


And in his newest ad, Garcetti touts his endorsements from the L.A. Times, La Opinión and the L.A. Business Journal. Greuel has been endorsed by the Daily News.

May 16: Today's negative ad comes from a Huntington Park doctor who is calling into question Eric Garcetti's ethnic identity. 

The 30-second, Spanish-language spot accuses Garcetti of driving Latinos out of Hollywood in order to benefit wealthier Angelenos. The ad also points out that he's supported by Republican Kevin James. Finally, the commercial says Garcetti wears a "Latino mask" when it’s convenient for him. Garcetti is half Latino on his father's side of the family. 

The ad is from Dr. Feliciano Serrano. According to the Ethics Commission, he paid $197,000 for the ad.

Independent groups supporting both Garcetti and Wendy Greuel have released videos this week that attack the candidates as anti-Latino. Speaking to the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Greuel said she wants to see an end to negative attacks that are misleading or untruthful. Asked whether it was right to question Garcetti's familial roots, Greuel told reporters she had not yet seen the ad in question. 

May 15: The campaign of Eric Garcetti released a new TV commercial Wednesday, again attacking opponent Wendy Greuel for receiving support from the union that represents Department of Water and Power employees.

The 16-second spot accuses Greuel of meeting with DWP lobbyists more than she met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. It also says Greuel opposed the creation of the DWP ratepayer advocate. When that accusation was made during Monday’s debate on KCAL, Greuel said it simply wasn’t true.

“I was for the ratepayer advocate. What I wasn’t for was the delay in having that ratepayer start,” Greuel said. “It was over two years from the time they started talking about a ratepayer advocate till actually they even hired someone.” 

IBEW Local 18, which represents DWP workers, is the major financial backer of the Working Californians political action committee. The group has spent $3.8 million to help get Greuel elected mayor. 

CLARIFICATION: The video below was not produced for TV. It only exists online.

A second video released Wednesday came from a political action committee called Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti. The group released a Spanish-language video that reminds voters Greuel was once a registered Republican. The video goes on to try linking Greuel to Gov. Pete Wilson's Proposition 187, which would have denied state services to undocumented residents. 

This afternoon, Greuel held a news conference in her Boyle Heights office to denounce the video. She has been a Democrat since 1992, and said she campaigned against the 1994 ballot initiative when she was with the Clinton Administration. 

"I call on Eric Garcetti to denounce this attack ad which is a flat out lie," said Congressman Tony Cardenas in a statement from the Greuel campaign. "In Spanish we have a saying,  No tienen verguenza – they have no shame. To lie to the community about someone who actually fought against Prop. 187 is as low as you can go." 

The video may have been a response to a recent Greuel mailer that knocks Garcetti for accepting the endorsement of Republican Kevin James. 

May 10: Another day, another commercial. This time, the TV spot is from an independent group supporting Eric Garcetti – and attacking Wendy Greuel.
Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013 (yes, that’s really the group’s name) has a 30-second spot that accuses Greuel of using her city controller’s office to benefit her mayoral campaign. The claims echo those made by the Los Cerritos News.  According to the newspaper, a review of Greuel’s official calendar showed political meetings and events were scheduled during City Hall office hours.  
“We trusted her to be our watchdog, but what did she do when no one was watching her? She wasted our time and money,” the ad says.
The ad will air on cable until Election Day, according to the group. Buying ad time on cable is generally cheaper that on broadcast channels, but the spots could also reach fewer people depending on the time and channel placement.
The group Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013 is run by Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and Mary Jane Stevenson, former California director for the Obama campaign.

May 9: A new TV spot from the Service Employees International Union, Local 721 highlights the fact that Wendy Greuel would make history if she were elected mayor on May 21.

Greuel would be Los Angeles’ first female mayor.

“We’re also electing the most qualified candidate, with a record of standing up for women, families and children. From helping to create LA’s BEST so kids have a safe place to go after school to protecting women’s access to health care, Wendy shares our values and priorities,” according to the ad.

Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, California List and the Feminist Majority Foundation have all endorsed Greuel’s campaign. (The California chapter of NOW endorsed Eric Garcetti.)

May 8: So much for reports the Wendy Greuel camp was pulling its television advertisements. The campaign announced Wednesday it will return to the airwaves tomorrow with a spot highlighting one of opponent Eric Garcetti's donors. 

Two weeks ago, the Greuel campaign held a news conference to announce that Garcetti received $2,600 from a developer named Juri Ripinsky. Ripinsky spent time in prison in the mid-1990s for bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering related to the Independence Bank of Encino. A year ago he hosted a fundraiser for Garcetti at a polo match and footage from that event is the basis for the new commercial:

“Juri you’ve been a dreamer. You’ve been somebody who is incredible with what you have done. So let’s give Juri a round of applause,” Garcetti says in the footage.

The Greuel campaign notes that Garcetti approved one of Ripinsky’s projects when it came before the Los Angeles City Council. What the ad does not say is that the approval came in 2007 – four years before Ripinsky first donated to Garcetti.  Greuel was a city councilwoman at the time of the vote and also approved the Paseo Plaza project in East Hollywood.

“Only an incompetent and discredited smear artist like Wendy Greuel would attack someone for doing the same thing that she has done,” said Jeff Millman with the Garcetti campaign. 

The ad follows reports from the Los Angeles Times that the Greuel campaign was pulling its commercials because of money problems. Campaign strategist John Shalllman told The Times, “We’re moving to a little more targeted-style campaign.”

Eric Garcetti's first television commercial may have been a positive spot about his accomplishments as a city councilman, but for his  second ad he's going negative against Wendy Greuel and the Department of Water and Power. 

With just two weeks until the runoff, Garcetti's latest commercial knocks Greuel for her work as the city controller — a job she's had since 2009 —  and her ties to the DWP. A political action committee primarily supported by the utility's union, Working Californians, has spent millions to help Greuel become the city's next mayor. The Garcetti ad notes that the DWP union is looking for raises in its next contract. 

Update: The chief strategist for the Greuel campaign, John Shallman, said of the spot, "Eric Garcetti’s ad feels more like a 60’s movie trailer for a B-horror film than a credible argument. Perhaps because there is no credible basis for his attacks."

The ad is just the latest to hit the airwaves since the March 5 primary. Last week, Working Californians released a TV spot highlighting former President Bill Clinton's support for Wendy Greuel. The footage came from a town hall the campaign hosted at Langer's Deli.  

Eric Garcetti's first campaign ad in the general election highlighted his work as the councilman for the Thirteenth District. He's represented the stretch from Echo Park to Hollywood since 2001. 

Wendy Greuel was the first candidate to be back on television after the primary. Over the course of one week, her campaign flooded the airwaves with three separate commercials. The first focused on gun violence. The second featured cameos from high-profile supporters Sen. Barbara Boxer, former Mayor Richard Riordan and former NBA superstar Magic Johnson. The final ad was a negative attack on Eric Garcetti for his financial interests in billboards and an oil lease.