Zine, 65, is a former Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who has represented the southeast San Fernando Valley for the past 12 years.
"You need someone who already has that insight, that knowledge, that experience, to take forward," Zine said. "I'm the one who stood up to the airport recently and said, 'We're not going to spend almost $4 million on a public relations campaign.' I challenged the airport and they rescinded that."
Zine is facing some tough opposition from lawyer Ron Galperin, who has won the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union, one of the city's largest labor unions.
"I've been looking at all the entrepreneurial opportunities for the city," Galperin said. "For example, we've got potholes everywhere, yet the city of L.A. actually owns two asphalt plants. We can be making money from those, we can be filling more of our own potholes, we can be doing joint venturing, we can be finding all sorts of ways to use that asset."
The 49-year-old Galperin has served on two volunteer commissions with the city.
Meanwhile, a third candidate, Cary Brazeman, considers himself an outsider with insider knowledge.
"The controller is the closest thing we have in the city to an inspector general," Brazeman said. "If the control is not look over us and watching out, nobody is. So, the controller has a great potential role to play in the life of people in this city."
Brazeman is a 46-year-old marketing executive. He says the city needs new ideas from new people.
Both Brazeman and Galperin say Zine won't do enough to expose waste and fraud.
"Of everybody who's on the Council, he is, dare I say, the least qualified to be looking into the finances of the city and trying to fix them," Galperin said.
"He's demonstrated little or no leadership on citywide issues," Brazeman said.
Zine, however, says his record on the City Council speaks for itself.
"I know how the system needs to be fixed," Zine said. "The advantage that I have is that I have the inside knowledge of what the Controller's Office needs to do."
Voters in the city of Los Angeles will make their choice Tuesday.