In her boldest attack yet, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel Wednesday criticized the city's leaders, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, for failing to bring economic growth to Los Angeles.
The City Controller evoked the struggling city of Detroit, saying Los Angeles could see "streets of vacant buildings" if voters don't put her in office.
"If Los Angeles is happy where we are today and likes the paralysis they're seeing at City Hall, vote for my opponent (Eric Garcetti)," Greuel said.
Suddenly sounding like an outsider candidate, Greuel said the city's "entire leadership" could have done more to encourage job growth.
While she has previously criticized the City Council--Greuel graded them a "C" last summer--the remarks on city leadership signify a new tack. Greuel hired a new campaign manager and is seeking to reset her campaign. She said she will also outline her specific job growth plans in the next few weeks.
Her criticisms were largely directed at rival Garcetti, who presided over the City Council for six years as president. While she didn't mention the councilman by name, she also included Villaraigosa in that "failed" leadership team.
"I'm putting the city leadership, everyone together," Greuel said, speaking outside of City Hall. "And particularly (Garcetti) as president of the City Council, they could do better in making sure we have better jobs in Los Angeles, and (in) getting out of this economic slump."
Greuel's swipes at the mayor come as key Villaraigosa allies, including City Councilman Jose Huizar and former Assemblyman Richard Katz, campaign for her. Also, a Los Angeles Times study earlier this year of city donations and endorsements found that a significant number of Villaraigosa appointees are backing Greuel over rival Garcetti.
Additionally, Greuel hired a longtime Villaraigosa deputy, Janette Erickson, as her new campaign manager over the weekend.
Asked Wednesday why she hired Villaraigosa's former deputy chief of staff if she was disappointed in the mayor, the controller defended Erickson, who has previously worked for Greuel. "She's done a variety of jobs," Greuel said.
Villaraigosa spokesman Peter Sanders declined to comment on Greuel's criticisms.
Greuel and Garcetti are in a tight race following the March 5 primary. The two face off in the May 21 runoff.
For the last two days, Greuel has hammered away at Garcetti's record on jobs growth. Greuel contends he is responsible for rising citywide unemployment numbers during his tenure as City Council president from 2006 to 2012. His campaign says rising joblessness was caused by the ensuing nationwide recession. The economy crashed in 2008.
Additionally, most economists agree that California suffered a far more severe and longer downturn than other states.
The new tone from Greuel--Garcetti's spokesman Jeff Millman calls the revamped candidate "Greuel 2.0"--drew skepticism from the Garcetti campaign on Wednesday.
"Eric's district is number 1 in job growth, and Hollywood's turnaround is undoubtedly a success story," said Millman. "Wendy Greuel's attacks are strange considering she twice voted for Eric to be Council President, which was an expression of confidence in Eric's leadership."
Greuel's comments on the city's leadership prompted a reporter to ask whether she included herself on that team of politicians. As controller, Greuel is one of three citywide elected officials.
"I have fought to make sure that we're more business-friendly in the kinds of audits I've done," Greuel replied. "And the money we've been able to identify in waste, fraud and abuse."
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