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Mayoral rivals talk like supply-siders; spending roars

February 28, 2013|By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

With just days to go before the mayoral primary election, two of the liberal candidates’ support for the elimination of a city business tax is a notable signal to commerce. Wendy Greuel’s and Eric Garcetti’s pushing for the move as a way to kick start economic growth recalls supply-side economic policy and puts them at odds with many Democrats’ beliefs.

Garcetti is the final candidate to be profiled by the Times in a series of articles that examines pivotal moments in the mayoral candidates’ lives. Garcetti has a long history of plunging into progressive causes, but his critics worry that he has lost touch with that instinct as he tries to be everything to everybody.

While the candidates are going to pains to try to differentiate themselves before the March 5 election, they found one issue to agree upon unanimously at an education forum in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday -- their desire to retain John Deasy, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The long-shot candidates in the race tried to gain traction as the clock ticked toward election day. Emanuel Pleitez filed an ethics complaint against Garcetti over his disclosure of real estate holdings based on reporting by the Times. And Republican candidate Kevin James’ provocative Web video hitting Greuel and Garcetti is yet another example of the former radio host’s showmanship, but also his need to garner attention to his money-starved campaign.

But James saw a boost as well -- an independent committee backing his bid bought $170,000 in ad time after a new infusion of cash from a Texas billionaire, pushing outside spending in the mayoral race past $3 million.

To see all the spending by labor, business and other groups and individuals not controlled by the candidates, check out the Times’ new independent spending tracker.

Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema

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