Wendy Greuel rallied supporters in San Pedro on Saturday, saying the community was vital to Los Angeles’ prosperity as she campaigned for mayor.
“This is the economic engine of our entire city,” Greuel said as she rallied supporters at the headquarters of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 63, the Marine Clerks Assn. She noted that her 9-year-old son was studying a map of Los Angeles and asked about San Pedro, which is connect to the rest of Los Angeles by a thin spit of land.
“I said to him, ‘It’s kind of like your leg, that long line down there, and guess what? If you don’t pay attention to it, you lose it, if you don’t take care of it,’ ” Greuel said. “This is a community of hard-working men and women, hard-working men and women who everyday get up, work here in the port, work in our community … making sure that this is a thriving economic engine.”
Greuel and her opponent, Eric Garcetti, are both courting voters in this outpost of the city that has long felt neglected because of its geographic and cultural distance from downtown Los Angeles.
Greuel has the backing of U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn, who represents the area in Congress and whose family is legendary.
“I’ve known Wendy for a long time. We’ve worked together, we sat next to each other on the Los Angeles City Council for many years,” Hahn said. “I know this woman to be, in my opinion, one of the hardest working people I have ever known in my life…. She’s going to win because Wendy works the hardest.”
Hahn is the daughter of beloved long-time county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn and sister of former Mayor James K. Hahn. “I know what it takes to be a good mayor,” Hahn said.
“This is a big city, with big issues, and we are at a point right now where this city could go either way, which is why it is important. Wendy is the right person for the job.”
Greuel won San Pedro by six points during the March primary, but Garcetti is courting it as well for the May 21 runoff. He appeared at another longshoremen’s union a block away last Saturday.
Garcetti on Saturday picked up the backing of City Council President Herb Wesson and appeared with him in South Los Angeles alongside council members Jan Perry and Bernard C. Parks. Garcetti has the backing of nearly every council member who has endorsed in the mayoral race.
Greuel brushed that aside, saying the endorsements reflected that Garcetti represents the status quo, while she has been critical of the council in her role as controller.
“Sometimes they are all going to stick together. That’s OK,” she said in an interview. “Sometimes, as controller, I’ve known you don’t always make people happy when you highlight what they’re doing wrong. You don’t always make them happy when you say, ‘You’re not doing the best job you possibly can to create the jobs that I think are so necessary, to be able to stop the gridlock and make sure we are spending that money efficiently.’ ”
Greuel said she was proud of the broad cross-section of endorsements she has received from leaders across Los Angeles and beyond. The controller has received many significant endorsements that could be influential in the African American community, including from President Clinton, basketball legend Magic Johnson, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and several influential religious and community leaders.
“I’m not for the status quo. I’m for making sure we make progress and do not have paralysis,” Greuel said.
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