With Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles set to pass from the city scene, the city of Los Angeles is gearing up for a knock-down drag-out mayoral battle royale. The leading candidates to take over stewardship of the city are City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Council Member Eric Garcetti. Other candidates include former KRLA talk show host and federal prosecutor Kevin James, and City Council Member Jan Perry. Should no candidate win upwards of 50 percent of the vote tomorrow, a run-off between the top two candidates will follow.
The politics of the city are somewhat odd. The unions have been pouring cash behind Greuel, while Hollywood has been pouring cash behind Garcetti. In terms of politics, they are incredibly similar. But that similarity has led to one of the more brutal mayoral fights in the history of the city, with Greuel attacking the lagging Jan Perry over her personal bankruptcies, James cutting an ad depicting Garcetti and Greuel lookalikes literally burying bodies, and Garcetti and Greuel attacking each other with alacrity over their work with oil companies. Greuel has attacked Garcetti for greenlighting a drilling lease near Beverly Hills High School, and Garcetti has attacked Greuel for her audits of the Department of Water and Power, which turned up no wasteful spending – and according to Garcetti, led the DWP union to hand Greuel in excess of $1.7 million in the race. Working Californians, a union-driven group, has dropped over $2 million for Greuel.
James, running in outsider campaign with the support of former LA Mayor Richard Riordan, is currently running a close third behind Garcetti and Gruel, who are at 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively. James is at 15 percent, followed by Perry at 14 percent. Perry has been playing the race card, imploring voters, “I beseech you, turn out like you turned out for Obama. If you do that, you will deliver me.”
Thanks to the insolvency of the city, all of the candidates have come out in favor of relaxing the city’s business tax – a bizarre situation in a race where three of the top four candidates are lifelong Democrats.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).