Mayoral Candidates debate economy

Megan Diskin

The five Los Angeles mayoral candidates focused on the economy at their second debate at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

The main candidates, Wendy Greuel, Emanuel Pleitez, Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry and Kevin James also talked about renovating transportation.

In cooperation with UCLA, the forum was co-hosted by the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, which helped to focus the theme of the debate on L.A.’s economy. The coalition focuses on economy-related issues like pension reform, unemployment and job creation to help stave off LA’s possible bankruptcy.

“Bankruptcy is not an option. It’s a cop out,” Wendy Greuel said.

The panel of experts brought up two propositions related to L.A.’s infrastructure that would create jobs: an extension of LAX’s runway and a better railroad system.

Although the candidates were all for innovation and job creation, they had concerns regarding the surrounding communities.

“We need to modernize our airport and move into the 21st century,” Emanuel Pleitez said. “But I don’t want a megative impact on the neighborhoods around the airport.”

Eric Garcetti agreed with the proposition but was also concerned with how the change would affect surrounding communities.

“People feel disconnected from government because they haven’t been listened to,” Garcetti said.

Jan Perry assured audience members that the side alliances and side conversations about city matters pertaining to issues presented in city hall would end and she would promote cooperation and equality.

“It’s not a level playing field when you’re doing something off the record,” Perry said.

On the subject of unemployment candidate Kevin James proposed solutions were to “streamline the permit process for small businesses” and business tax reform. “We must signal to the nation, to the world that L.A. is open for business again,” James said.

Green technology’s place in L.A. came in to question when panelists addressed if the city’s investment in green technology has paid off.

Greuel said that L.A. can do much better. “We could be the solar capital of the world,” Greuel said. She reinforced that continued investments in green technology would create jobs.

Pleitez responded to that same question and said: “I’m not running for mayor to say, ‘I can make jobs I would have made as a city council member.'”