Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, center, receives endorsements… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel challenged City Councilman Eric Garcetti to a debate on education issues.
But in a break with tradition, she gave him only two hours to show up.
One day after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said there hasn't been enough focus on public schools in the mayor's race, Greuel’s campaign fired off an email calling on her opponent to attend a debate at Camino Nuevo Charter High School at 2:15 p.m. with school board president Monica Garcia. The email went out shortly after noon.
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Shannon Murphy, a spokeswoman for Greuel, who is the city controller, said she saw nothing wrong with demanding that Garcetti show up with such short notice.
"This is a real offer, a real place and a real time to talk about one of the most important issues facing Los Angeles," Murphy said. "The students of Los Angeles should not have to wait until May."
Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman dismissed the invitation as a stunt. Garcetti's campaign had challenged her to attend an debate Tuesday focused on education.
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“This is another political stunt from Controller Greuel," he said. "Let’s end the political games and get serious about education.”
Millman said Garcetti will not attend the debate because he is scheduled to appear at a 2 p.m. news conference with three former mayoral candidates who failed to make the runoff, and who have since endorsed him -- City Councilwoman Jan Perry, attorney Kevin James and Emanuel Pleitez.
Millman said the Garcetti campaign has been approached by several organizations to schedule an education-themed debate in May.
Half an hour after she sent the invitation to Garcetti’s campaign, Murphy made it clear that Greuel plans to attack the councilman if he fails to attend the hastily arranged debate.
In an email, Murphy said: “The only question now is, does Eric Garcetti show up? If so, which Eric will it be? The Eric who wants an education debate or the one who doesn't?”
Greuel has repeatedly accused Garcetti, who has been endorsed by Los Angeles district teachers' union, of failing to support school reform. She asserts he took multiple positions on the so-called parent-trigger law – which allows parents to mandate aggressive changes at a poorly performing school – and did not support Garcia’s reelection. Garcia has been Villaraigosa's closest ally on the board and the mayor has pushed a series of policies, some of which have rankled teachers.
Garcetti says he supports the parent trigger, but says it cannot be used to address the needs of most campuses.
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