Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel called Los Angeles “the most under-policed city in the country” in an interview with NBC4 on Sunday.
For that reason, Greuel said, she is proposing to add 2,000 firefighters and police officers to the ranks of the city's first responders.
“We’re at a crossroads in Los Angeles for what kind of city we’re going to be,” Greuel told the station's Ted Chen.
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Greuel, who currently serves as the city's controller, said she could save the city money while still bolstering the city's police and fire departments. She cited recent audits conducted by her department that showed what she called "waste, fraud and abuse."
Although critics have repeatedly questioned the financial numbers behind some of Greuel's ideas, she cited her experience as city controller, saying she will be a “fiscal watchdog” for the city of Los Angeles.
“I’ve identified $160 million in waste, fraud, and abuse,” Greuel said. “I am very proud of my history as the city controller.”
While Greuel cited her experience on saving the city money, Chen asked Greuel about her plans to spend an excess of $240 million on hiring 2,000 firefighters and police officers when the city itself is $200 million in the red.
“It’s a goal,” Greuel said. “And it’s also based on only if revenue comes in.”
Greuel opposes Prop A, a half-cent sales tax increase on the residents of Los Angeles. Chen asked how Greuel would raise such revenue for public safety if she is against the sales tax increase.
“We can’t tax our way out of this problem,” Greuel said. “It’s about job creation and the money we can get in... and it’s about further pension reform.”
Greuel also mentioned how “millions of dollars are wasted from inaction on city council.”
Chen also asked Greuel about allegations by her opponents that she is too close to the unions that represent workers at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
She responded that she had done "numerous audits" of the agency, and that she would be an independent mayor.
The LA Times has formally endorsed Greuel’s opponent, Eric Garcetti, a nearly 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council, saying Greuel is “too cautious.”
“I disagree,” Greuel said. “I have made decisions that haven’t made everybody happy.”