"What I tell voters is if you're happy with the way things are, you've got great candidates. You've got three politicians who've been in office for over 30 years combined," said Pleitez.
Emanuel Pleitez He presents himself as an alternative to the three city council members running for mayor. Pleitez is a former aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Pleitez recently quit as the chief strategy officer of the Internet search engine Spokeo to campaign full-time.
Pleitez grew up in El Sereno.
"Understanding firsthand what it feels like to struggle in the city. None of the other candidates know what that's like, to be poor in the city of Los Angeles and to understand those issues in an intimate way," said Pleitez. "That's what I bring to the table."
Pleitez is 30 years old. He was the first in his family to attend college.
Pleitez admits he faces long odds. But he has a Spanish surname in a city where Latinos made up 25 percent of the vote in Mayor Villaraigosa's first election. And Pleitez has been able to raise enough money to qualify as a participant in televised debates. He does not have organized-labor support, and does not have enough money to advertise regularly. He's got almost no support from the Democratic Party.
"My priority is addressing the pension fund system. That is the number one priority, day one, what needs to happen," said Pleitez. "You address that, you actually will save about $650 million from the budget if just half of the workers took this plan."
Pleitez is proposing a pension buyout for city employees. He would go to the bond market to get the money while rates are at historic lows. He says it would help get the city's credit rating back up.
"I've done this," said Pleitez. "I've helped public entities raise capital and I understand how to do it. I understand that the time is right for us to do it right now, to relieve us of that bad debt with good debt and then our workers actually get something instead of the over-promises that they've gotten from the politicians."
Pleitez tries not to sound a politician. He says everyone's got to be able to give a little to get the city back on the path to solvency.