STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel clashed over a long list of issues at their last televised debate on KCAL9.
The hour-long discussion, moderated by political reporter Dave Bryan, took place Monday morning, one week before the May 21 runoff election.
Bryan said there was plenty of heat between the candidates when the topics of character assassination and integrity came up.
Greuel said, “He’s questioning my integrity to whether I’ll be independent. I’ve demonstrated I’ll be independent….whoever may have contributed to my campaign. I think it’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise.”
Garcetti, however, disputed he’s ever questioned Greuel’s integrity.
“I have a lot of respect for her. I’ve never said she’s in this for herself,” he said.
One of the most animated exchanges came when Bryan asked about the $42.6 million that was recently discovered in a special transportation fund.
“Ms. Greuel, as controller, is in charge of auditing. She’s in charge of each of these accounts,” said Garcetti.
Greuel responded, “This is an instance where I was doing my job. This is an audit…that was done on the Department of Transportation. It’s the second audit I did on the Department of Transportation that highlighted, specifically, where there were problems with their grant management….that they were not reimbursing the city of Los Angeles fast enough…that they had challenges and they needed to make those changes.”
Meantime, Greuel pressed Garcetti about a convicted felon who donated to his campaign.
“I’ve asked him to return those dollars. To return those dollars and he’s refused to respond to that,” said Greuel.
Garcetti said, “This is the ‘gotcha politics’ that Ms. Greuel has been criticized for in recent weeks. This is a project she voted for twice. This is also a problem she had because she had a convicted felon contribute to her campaign, as well.”
“The difference between me and Mr. Garcetti is I returned that money. I’ve returned that money immediately,” said Greuel.
Bryan said the latest polls showed Garcetti and Greuel in a dead heat for mayor.