VALLEY GLEN (CBSLA.com) — City Controller Wendy Greuel didn’t dream about becoming the mayor of Los Angeles as a little girl.
She had higher hopes.
“It was in the yearbook that I was going to be the President of the United States,” she laughed.
The White House, however, will have to wait.
KNX 1070’s Charles Feldman reports Greuel is one of five major mayoral candidates vying to take the place of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The 51-year-old believes she’s the front-runner of the heated race.
“A lot of people have come after me. They don’t point arrows at you if you’re behind them,” said Greuel.
CBS2’s Dave Bryan said Greuel has been in the spotlight ever since she received support from the union that represents Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees.
“I’m gonna stand up for what I believe in. History has demonstrated that I’ve been willing to take on my allies and labor leaders. They know I’m going to do what’s best for Los Angeles,” Greuel said.
Not only has Greuel’s loyalty been called into question, but she’s also been accused of exaggerating the amount of waste, fraud and abuse she uncovered at City Hall.
A key point of contention between Greuel and Eric Garcetti, her perceived chief rival, is Greuel’s claim that she found $160 million that she says the City Council failed to adequately address.
In debates, Garcetti said the $160 million figure is fiction – an allegation Greuel bristles at.
“My audits have had recommendations as to ensure that in the future that waste won’t occur. And many of those audits were not acted upon by the City Council and my opponent,” Greuel said.
Greuel added it’s the job of other city officials to address problems after her office identifies them.
“My job is to identify it. And make sure the mayor and council, which I don’t believe they’ve done, take my audits and have them implemented. That’s where you’re gonna see the savings go in the future. My $160 million is the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
Bryan reported that Greuel has worked tirelessly in the public eye since she graduated from UCLA.
She spent a decade in the office of Mayor Tom Bradley, where she served as his liaison with the City Council.
In 1993, Greuel went to work with the Clinton administration and managed the Housing and Urban Development’s response to the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
For five years, she worked as a government and community affairs executive with Dreamworks SKG.
In 2002, Greuel won a bitter battle for City Council against then-Assemblyman Tony Cardenas before she was elected to the office of City Controller in 2009.