Front of the Class: Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti Focus on Education on Teacher Appreciation Day

The mayoral candidates participated in a debate at the Petersen Automotive Museum today

Exactly two weeks before Angelenos will select the next mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel sat down for yet another formal debate Tuesday at the Petersen Automotive Museum. The conversation, moderated by Which Way, LA.? host Warren Olney and produced with Zocolo Public Square, centered on education but also touched on street repair, the public transit system, and pension reform. In His and Hers blue and pink tops, Garcetti and Greuel stuck mostly to talking points we’ve heard before; while Greuel opened the discussion by stating “there’s probably no other subject where my opponent and I differ more,” the candidates voiced similar stances on partnership schools (they’re working), pension reform (it’s necessary), and—no surprise here—the economic importance of a successful education system. While Greuel said she’d work around the City Charter, which restricts the mayor’s power over the LAUSD, to improve education by electing good school board members, advocating for more state and federal funding, supporting partnership schools, and hiring a deputy mayor-type to ensure education remains a top priority, Garcetti said he’d put “city money directly in our schools” to get more for the community, for less. The most animated outburst on the subject came from a man in the audience, who disrupted the debate by shouting out questions about the safety of classrooms going wireless and was promptly escorted out of the room. The second most heated moment came later, when Greuel suggested that Garcetti inappropriately delayed a hearing on a DWP audit as a city councilman back in 2009. Garcetti dismissed the allegation, criticized Greuel for raising it, and steered the conversation back to pension reform as quickly as he could. The final audience question of the day—The campaign has become so negative, how can I believe you will take this job seriously? —gave the candidates an opportunity to change the tone of their discussion. Instead, Greuel began her answer by saying, essentially, ‘he started it.’ Garcetti responded with ‘no I didn’t’ and the event came to a close. Like we said, just two more weeks until election day.