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Labor group says Wendy Greuel will push minimum wage to $15

May 16, 2013|By David Zahniser, Kate Linthicum and James Rainey

Union backers of Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel have sent out a new mailer declaring that she would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in L.A., even as Greuel and her allies disputed that she had made such a promise and called for all campaign groups to be "truthful."

The campaign mailer, produced by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, reached voters' mailboxes on Wednesday. On the same day, Greuel and Councilman Jose Huizar specified that she supports a $15 an hour wage specifically for hotel workers, not for every worker in the city.

If campaign groups "are putting out mailers that say it’s for everyone, they should correct it," Huizar said, standing next to Greuel at a Boyle Heights news conference. "They should say that it’s for hotel workers."

Greuel said Thursday on radio station KFWB-AM (980) that the minimum wage is a national issue that deserves "continued dialogue." That conflicts with the message in the new mailer from the labor federation, which has sought to rebrand Greuel as "La Wendy” for Spanish-speaking voters.

"On May 21, our votes will elect Wendy our mayor ... and la Wendy will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour," says the mailer in Spanish and English. It includes altered images showing workers holding signs with such messages as “$15 por hora” and “la Wendy por mi.”

A separate mailer sent by the federation on Saturday urged voters to back Greuel “so she can raise the minimum wage” to $15. Rival candidate Eric Garcetti on Monday called that mailer “a cynical attempt to buy votes” and warned that it would give false hope to those are “struggling to make ends meet."

Garcetti said a hike in the hourly minimum wage from $8 to $15 in Los Angeles would hurt the city’s delicate economic recovery. On Thursday his spokesman said both mailers showed “a pattern of deceitful and dishonest advertising by Wendy Greuel 'super-PACs.' ” 

At the Greuel news conference with Huizar on Wednesday, Greuel denounced a Garcetti super-PAC for linking her to Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and Proposition 187, the 1994 measure seeking to crack down on illegal immigration, calling the ploy "disgusting."

Greuel, who switched her party registration from Republican to Democrat in 1992, called on the Garcetti super-PAC to take down its ad, saying she voted for Wilson’s opponent in 1990 and fought Proposition 187 four years later. Asked about the minimum wage mailer, she responded: "I want every ad, every mailer to be truthful and honest."

Greuel has been running with the support of the city's major business groups, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Gary Toebben, the group’s president, said Greuel never brought up the issue of a $15 minimum wage during campaign conversations with his organization.

Greuel and Garcetti only spoke of their support for a living wage for larger hotels and even then, the number $15 never came up, Toebben said.

“We will immediately talk about this after the election,” he added.

The county Federation of Labor put $570,000 into its Coalition for Better School and Communities, the super-PAC that has been sending the minimum wage mailers, according to spending records through May 4. The PAC also supports city council candidates John Choi, Gil Cedillo and Curren Price.

Maria Elena Durazo, the top official at the labor federation, has not responded to repeated requests for comment in recent days.

ALSO:

Billboard companies play big role in election

Attack ads in L.A. mayor's race seek Latino votes

Garcetti assails minimum-wage mailer sent by Greuel allies

Twitter: @DavidZahniser

david.zahniser@latimes.com

kate.linthicum@latimes.com

james.rainey@latimes.com

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