LA Mayoral Candidates Wage War of Numbers

Councilman Eric Garcetti says City Controller Wendy Greuel's numbers don't add up

By Conan Nolan and Neil Costes
|  Thursday, Jan 31, 2013  |  Updated 8:29 PM PDT
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LA mayoral candidate and City Councilman Eric Garcetti on Thursday seized on a report in the Los Angeles Times that claims rival Wendy Greuel's numbers on wasteful spending are overstated. Conan Nolan reports from South LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2013.

Conan Nolan

LA mayoral candidate and City Councilman Eric Garcetti on Thursday seized on a report in the Los Angeles Times that claims rival Wendy Greuel's numbers on wasteful spending are overstated. Conan Nolan reports from South LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2013.

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LA mayoral candidate and City Councilman Eric Garcetti on Thursday seized on a report in the Los Angeles Times that claims rival Wendy Greuel's numbers on wasteful spending are overstated.

"I've identified $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse," Greuel, city controller, said during Monday mayoral debate at UCLA. It's a claim Greuel also made in her first television campaign commercial.

But the report in the LA Times said Greuel's numbers are based on two audits that used accounting maneuvers and unrealistic revenue projections.

For example, there's the claim that millions were lost to the city in ad revenue on a private contract to build bus shelters, public restrooms and kiosks. But the LA Times reports projected revenues weren't met because many councilmembers, including Greuel when she was on the council, opted against placing the so-called "street furniture" in their districts.

"It's clear from independent analysis that the numbers simply don't add up," Garcetti said on Thursday.

The Greuel campaign defended the $160 million figure as accurate, whether the savings were realistic or not.

"The controller's job is very simple," said Greuel campaign consultant, John Shallman. "She identifies waste, fraud and abuse. She makes recommendations to implement her changes. They've not done that. That's why she's running for mayor. She knows where the waste is."

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