Los Angeles mayoral candidate profile: Jan Perry has vision for LA


Perry admits she's outspoken. She is also willing to take credit for positive changes in her district. The district includes much of the area immediately south of downtown Los Angeles.

"I have led this downtown revival. I didn't do it alone, I did it collectively, but I have been the shepherd of that and the steward of it. And most of the new projects that you see down here have had my hand in it," said Perry.

Perry has been on the city council for 12 years. She can't run again for the council. Now she wants to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and move into his office. She says she has an additional motivation for wanting to be mayor.

"I want to build a city through the eyes of my 21-year-old daughter, who is about to graduate from college," said Perry. "And I see in her what I see as the future for the city of Los Angeles, to build a city where there are jobs here for people who need to go back to work. And for young people who are starting out with their lives."

Whether people are starting out their lives or still trying to survive with the lives they've built, there are big obstacles facing the new mayor of Los Angeles. The mayor will have to maintain the city's quality of life while coping with a substantial projected deficit. The deficit facing the new mayor could top $200 million.

Perry says she will ask city employees to forego a planned pay raise next year. And she thinks there's another way to save $40 million a year.

"The difficult part is to convince our employees that for our long-term survival, that we all have to participate in giving back on our health care costs and our pension costs to the level that fire and police do," said Perry.

On March 5 Los Angeles voters will be asked to approve a sales-tax increase to help pay for police and fire, as well as pay raises promised to city employees. Perry opposes a proposed new sales tax.

"Before we go and ask the voters to pay more in a sales tax increase we have to demonstrate to them that we have done all that we could possibly do to control our employee costs and our operating costs," said Perry.

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