One big advantage for a Los Angeles city controller aspiring to higher office is the ability to make news with a steady flow of audits exposing wasteful spending at City Hall.
So while stuck in Hollywood Freeway traffic on a recent morning, Wendy Greuel, controller and candidate for mayor, picked up her phone for a radio interview about one of those reports, accusing the city of squandering $325,000 on improper mileage reimbursements.
"That was really just the tip of the iceberg," she told listeners, recycling a line she's used to publicize previous audits finding lavish travel spending at the Housing Authority and credit card abuses at the Coliseum.
In a city beset by chronic budget shortfalls, Greuel is campaigning in the March 5 election primary as a fiscal conservative. She's uniquely qualified, she argues, not just because of her record as a city official, but as a result of her work at DreamWorks and her family's ownership of a building supply business in North Hollywood.
"I have inside knowledge and an outside perspective," she said in an
interview.But Greuel's record, her opponents contend, doesn't match the image she's crafting. They question what she's accomplished with her audits and portray her Hollywood experience — in government relations — as emblematic of a career as a political insider.