A Vision Of Wendy Greuel: Mayor Of Los Angeles
Summer is just around the corner and the fervor of the 2012 election has long passed. Seems like a quiet time for politics, right? For us Angelenos and Trojans, however, that is hardly the case.
The Los Angeles mayoral election is right on our heels on May 21. As determined by the primary election on March 5, City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti (CD-13), both registered Democrats, are the two contenders for Antonio Villaraigosa's seat as mayor. While local politics often go unnoticed in our community, it is crucial for eligible Trojan voters to vote for Greuel in order to put Los Angeles back on track.
If elected mayor, Greuel would become Los Angeles's first female mayor, though being the first women at the helm is definitely not all that she has to offer. Her track record as City Controller and former City Councilwoman (CD-2) proves her honest dedication to civil service. She tends to focus on major city reforms and was well known as the "Pothole Queen" for her relentless campaign to fill in every pothole on L.A. streets and sidewalks. Greuel has also garnered the support of former President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
While both Greuel and Garcetti are accomplished Democratic candidates and native Angelenos, Greuel boasts far more diverse work experience. While Garcetti spent the majority of his life in academia, Greuel worked with former L.A. mayor Tom Bradley, in the Clinton Administration's field office in Southern California and with DreamWorks Pictures prior to her election to City Council. Greuel is also a proud small business owner, having worked at and inherited her family's hardware store in the San Fernando Valley.
Greuel's varied experiences in both business and politics provide her a nuanced perspective; she understands the effect businesses have on our local economy and the need to keep those businesses in L.A. Garcetti's background as a professor, although impressive on some levels, just does not offer the same experience, so necessary in the office of the mayor.
While Garcetti seems like a typical politician, the majority of the city's people believe that Greuel is a genuine candidate with real plans for L.A. I am originally from Irvine, a city 45 miles south in Orange County, where the mayors tend to be community-oriented and offer strong plans for the growth of the city. Most mayors of large cities fail to hold up to such a standard, but I believe that Greuel does. She stands out with the charisma, charm and talent of a smaller city mayor, yet still understands the trials and tribulations faced by a large city.
Greuel has identified, for example, nearly $160 million in wasteful spending by the city. As mayor, Greuel vows to eliminate spending in these areas and use the additional revenue to balance the budget and increase financial support in critical areas such as development and education.
One of the key areas of Los Angeles that requires attention for both of these issues is South L.A.—the area that surrounds USC. While South L.A. is not as crime-ridden as it was in the 1980s, much economic rehabilitation remains necessary. Hence, money Greuel saves could be used for projects throughout South L.A. and in the USC area, such as the development of the University Village.
Greuel's other public works proposals include plans for traffic alleviation and travel efficiency. I have found transportation in L.A. to be incredibly inefficient and time consuming, with few metro rail options available to explore our city. Greuel proposes the creation of more bike lanes throughout the city to facilitate cleaner transport, and the extension and creation of more Metro lines (including the Purple and Green lines). These would provide Angelenos, as well as college students, cheaper and easier transport to access sites around L.A. including the Westside, Santa Monica and the Valley.
Garcetti, meanwhile, proposes the creation of large numbers of new jobs, particularly in the clean energy sector. While Garcetti's idea is commendable, he fails to properly outline a plan for the allocation of funds going towards this project and seems to completely overlook the city's budget crisis. His proposals would put you and me in a Los Angeles that is worse than it is today.
Wendy Greuel is the better candidate to lead L.A. in the right direction. She is the candidate that will create change and improve the lives of us college students living here. She offers a vision that brings together the diverse communities that we have here in L.A., from Sylmar to San Pedro, from Chatsworth to Boyle Heights, from UCLA to USC. We all are Angelenos and Wendy has what it takes to move us forward.
It is critical for all voters to go out and vote for Wendy Greuel on May 21. Vote in person, vote absentee, but vote. If you aren't registered, but are eligible, go and register. Remember, you are voting for the future of the city.
For more information or to get involved in the campaign, visit Trojans with Wendy Greuel. USC students can also check out the meetings every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the steps of the Von KleinSmid Center (VKC).
You can also hear Greuel outline her vision Monday in the next mayoral debate, hosted in the Louis B. Mayer Auditorium at USC Keck School of Medicine at 7:00 p.m.
Finally, come out to Exchange L.A. on Spring Street for a Young Professionals Night Out Downtown with Wendy Greuel this Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Reach Guest Contributor Shikhar Gupta here.