Los Angeles mayoral candidate Nick Patsaouras, battling dismal name recognition, will try to introduce himself to voters today with television and radio commercials showcasing his ascent from penniless Greek immigrant to successful businessman.
"This strong-willed and self-made man has the plan to make Los Angeles safe and prosperous," the 30-second TV ad begins.
Dubbing him "the man with the plan" to revitalize Los Angeles, the spot glosses over Patsaouras' history as a former president of the historically troubled Southern California Rapid Transit District, now part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It depicts him as "the citizen leader who took on Washington and won. Now we have Metro Rail, and with it, thousands of jobs."
Patsaouras helped win federal funding for the recently opened subway. The project created thousands of construction jobs.
"It was Nick Patsaouras' plan to create jobs in L.A. by targeting transportation funds to put people to work," the ad says, citing the candidate's blueprint for using the $183 billion in public transit funds earmarked for Los Angeles over the next 30 years to stimulate private development. Patsaouras has proposed using publicly owned land around transit stations to build housing, offices, stores, day-care centers and parks.
Patsaouras is the second of 31 mayoral candidates to hit the airwaves, where much of the campaign is expected to be waged. Three weeks ago, Tom Houston began airing the first commercial, which focuses on his controversial plan to round up gang members who are illegal immigrants.
With less than 10 weeks before the April 20 primary, Patsaouras needs to build up his name recognition. In a recent Times poll, Patsaouras trailed several other candidates, including Councilmen Michael Woo, Nate Holden and Joel Wachs, businessman Richard Riordan and Assemblyman Richard Katz--drawing support from only 2% of the voters in the survey. However, the poll found that 42% of the voters were undecided.
Patsaouras does not speak in the commercial. His campaign strategist, Bill Carrick, said Patsaouras' heavy accent was not a consideration.
"We're going to use him talking to the camera down the road," Carrick said. "It's been my experience that, to start with, it's better to do these things in a narrative, biographical presentation."
Carrick said Tuesday that the TV ad will air on commercial stations throughout the day but not during prime time because of the expense. He declined to disclose the cost.
The radio ad, which will air on all-news stations, is similar to the TV spot but 60 seconds long. The radio ad invites listeners to call Patsaouras' number, (800) 4 A NEW LA, to obtain a copy of his 10-page campaign platform.