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Greuel and Garcetti go head-to-head in Boyle Heights

April 13, 2013|By Kate Linthicum
  • Mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti
Mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti ( Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

The Los Angeles mayor’s race invaded Boyle Heights on Saturday, with Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti both campaigning in the neighborhood for coveted Eastside votes.

In a parking lot outside a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor on bustling Cesar Chavez Avenue, Garcetti invoked his family’s immigrant roots and pledged to give Boyle Heights the attention it deserves if he is elected on May 21.

“I’m running for mayor to bring opportunity everywhere,” he told a crowd of supporters as they prepared to walk precincts.

He was joined by several prominent Latino leaders, including local clergy, who laid their hands on Garcetti for a blessing, and Josefina Lopez, the Mexican-born playwright who wrote "Real Women Have Curves".

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Lopez told the crowd she was voting for Garcetti because he understands immigrants and will not overlook the community if he is elected.

“We need leaders who understand we are not here just to take, we’re here to contribute,” she said. “I don’t know how many people come in, try to use the community, and then once they get elected . . . forget about us.”

A few blocks away, at her campaign’s Boyle Heights field office, Greuel was rallying her own supporters for a vote-canvassing effort. Greuel also met with student journalists at the Hollenbeck Police Station and shook hands and posed for pictures at the 100th anniversary celebration at Hollenbeck Middle School.

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In between events, she took questions on Twitter about education -- an issue she has been focusing on in recent days.

Speaking to journalists at the Hollenbeck fair, where students sold churros and ceviche to raise money for class trips, Greuel said she would bring equity to the city’s schools. “It shouldn’t depend on your Zip Code what kind of education you get,” she said.

She emphasized the importance of giving parents and teachers more control over schools, and lauded the recent “parent trigger” vote by parents at 24th Street Elementary to restructure the struggling school.

Her answers did not seem to impress Joseph Conde, who was standing a few feet away.

Conde, a substitute teacher who has worked in many underperforming schools, is an undecided voter. He said the city cannot rely on parents alone to improve schools, especially given that parents in many communities have little education themselves.

He thinks the most important issue facing schools is “the disparity.” He said schools in the wealthiest neighborhoods often get the best teachers. Of less-wealthy communities, he said, “We end up with the leftovers.”

He said Greuel and Garcetti need to spend time in schools on both ends of the spectrum to really understand the state of the school district. “I want them to go to the best schools, and I want them to go to the worst schools,” he said.

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Twitter: @katelinthicum

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