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Los Angeles mayoral candidate profile: Wendy Greuel touts fiscal oversight

February 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Next Tuesday is Election Day in Los Angeles. Voters will choose who they want as their next mayor. City Controller Wendy Greuel discusses how she would like to run the city of Los Angeles.

As the city controller, Greuel is the financial watchdog. As controller, she's overseen more than 77 audits, from bus bench advertising to the city budget.

Greuel served on the Los Angeles City Council for seven years when she ran for and won election as city controller. Before city council she was an executive at DreamWorks.

"I have the unique qualifications of not only working in the public sector but the private sector," said Greuel. "Being a family business owner, working at DreamWorks movie studios, but also being the tough fiscal watchdog, being the controller for the city of Los Angeles."

A frequent criticism of Greuel from her opponents involves her receiving nearly $1 million in contributions from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees. The LADWP is one of the organizations she's regulated as a councilwoman and controller, and she would be overseeing the DWP if she becomes mayor.

"I have been an equal opportunity auditor. I have done more audits of the Department of Water and Power and held them accountable for credit card usage, for looking at the renewable portfolio, looking at their contracts," said Greuel. "I have been an independent fiscal watchdog."

The DWP contributions have come up at the many mayoral debates Greuel has participated in. She says her priorities are jobs, pension reform and health care.

The city has had to cut thousands of jobs and millions of dollars from the budget. The new mayor will face another projected deficit into the tens of millions of dollars.

Greuel claims to have identified $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse at City Hall, money that could be used to balance the budget and pay for firefighters or police.

Her critics say the $160 million figure is based on accounting maneuvers and unrealistic projections. Greuel insists there is more that can be done, and it won't involve taxes.

"I don't believe that we can tax our way out of this situation," said Greuel. "In the public that I've talked to, people say, 'Look, we want to make sure you've done everything, the city has done everything they possibly can, before they come to the taxpayers and ask them to give more.' And I believe that there's more that we can do to focus in on our core services."


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