Garcetti Begins Mayoral Duties Facing Pensions and Budgets - KMSP-TV

Garcetti Begins Mayoral Duties Facing Pensions and Budgets

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Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) After emerging victorious from a hard-fought and costly campaign, mayor-elect Eric Garcetti thanked voters today for propelling him into office and said he was prepared to take on the city's major issues, which will include a looming budget deficit and a battle over employee
pensions.

"We have our challenges before us as a city, big challenges,'' he said. "But there's no challenge in Los Angeles that cannot be met by the immense wellspring of talent and people and passion that's here in Los Angeles. Those folks who believe in Los Angeles, the people who are the most diverse, committed, creative human beings ever assembled on the face of the Earth --
together we will make this not just a big city, but a great city once again.''

With all precincts reporting from Tuesday's runoff election, Garcetti had 54 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent for City Controller Wendy Greuel.

Voter turnout was estimated at 19.2 percent, although that figure was likely to rise slightly as the City Clerk's Office continued tallying the remaining provisional and questioned ballots.

Turnout was generally lackluster despite prolific campaigning by the mayoral candidates, and a record-setting $30 million spent on efforts to reach voters.

Greuel, 51, called Garcetti about 2 a.m. to concede the race. At her Van Nuys campaign office this morning, she congratulated her opponent for a hard-fought race. "After going toe-to-toe with him as political opponents for two years now ... you really get to know a person,'' she said.
Garcetti "cares deeply'' about the city, she said, and "will work tirelessly to be the strong and innovative leader we need at this critical moment in our history.''

She touched on the historical significance of her bid for mayor, saying that while she failed to ``break through the glass ceiling last night'' she put enough of a "crack in it'' that the ``next woman candidate in my shoes will crash right through it.''

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Garcetti "a true leader'' that he trusted "to guide our city into its bright future.

"I know I am leaving Los Angeles in good hands,'' he said in a statement. Garcetti said he was "honored'' by the trust placed in him by residents. "I want to thank the voters who believed in the idea that a record of results was worth voting for, that something they could see with their own eyes on the streets of the heart of Los Angeles, from Hollywood to Atwater Village, here where the city started -- they've seen turnaround for over a decade,'' he said. "And they also believe that an independent mayor was worth voting for.''

 As he did Tuesday night at his election party, he again reached out again to Greuel, calling her ``my former opponent and my continuing friend.'' "We will continue to work together very closely,'' he said.

As mayor, the 42-year-old Garcetti will face ballooning pension costs and a looming battle between city leaders and employee groups over proposed labor concessions included in Villaraigosa's final budget. Garcetti won key endorsements during the campaign from former mayoral candidates Councilwoman Jan Perry and radio host Kevin James, translating into
votes in South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

Greuel, meanwhile, secured backing from powerful groups such as the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which represents 600,000 union workers. The controller also garnered high-profile endorsements from former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., former Laker legend Earvin "Magic'' Johnson, and former Mayor Richard Riordan.

Two weeks before the election, Greuel injected $100,000 of her own money into her campaign coffers after funding for television advertising dried up. Soon after, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police officers' union, stepped in to put in another $1.4 million into a pro-Greuel independent expenditure committee.

While Greuel leaned heavily on financial support from labor groups, prompting opponents to question her ability to stand up to city employees during labor negotiations -- particularly Department of Water and Power workers -- she retained the backing of major business groups, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, typically critical of city employee union contracts.

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