Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa defended his record Monday after Los Angeles mayoral candidate City Controller Wendy Greuel criticized city leaders, including Villaraigosa, for not doing enough to bring jobs to L.A.
"I think it's pretty clear that we have created 200,000 jobs -- and we can document that -- since I have been mayor, in the toughest economic times," Villaraigosa said, speaking at the launch of a new city 311 smart phone app in downtown.
Greuel attacked leaders last week over the issue of job growth at a press conference outside City Hall. Rival candidate City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who served as president of the city council from 2006-2012, was the main target of Greuel's attack, but she also blamed Villaraigosa.
She told reporters L.A.'s "entire leadership has failed us" on the issue of job growth, and said there is a "paralysis" at City Hall.
The criticisms came days after Greuel retooled her campaign and hired a former top Villaraigosa aide as her new campaign manager.
On Monday, Villaraigosa pointed to several major construction projects -- all of which are creating jobs -- around the city, including the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport and the dredging project at L.A. Harbor.
"Look, people are going to say what they're going to say." Villaraigosa said. "I'm focused on doing my job." He also said he wasn't paying much attention to the mayor's race.
A recent USC/Los Angeles Times poll on the race found voters believe job creation is the second most important issue facing Los Angeles. The biggest concern is "getting the budget under control," according to the poll.
In a race with few policy differences between them, Greuel and Garcetti both argue they are better equipped to create jobs and spur economic growth in the city.
On the issue of job creation, Garcetti points to his record of development in Hollywood, and tough decisions he said he's made on the city's budget.
His campaign last week defended himself against Greuel's jab over a 13 percent unemployment during his city council presidency, arguing a steep, nationwide recession was underway.
Greuel has pointed to her work finding waste and fraud during her tenure as City Controller, and that she would work to bring new businesses to Los Angeles.
Told of Villaraigosa's response to her comments, Greuel said Monday afternoon she was being particularly critical of Garcetti in her press conference outside City Hall last week.
"My point is that we can do better," Greuel said.
The 200,000 job number referenced by Villaraigosa is tied to a list of major construction and transportation projects.
Not all the 200,000 jobs have been filled yet, Villaraigosa spokeswoman Vicki Curry said, because construction hasn't started on projects like the Westside subway extension, for instance.
Villaraigosa hasn't said whether he will endorse anyone in the mayor's race.
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