LMU Hosts Debate Between Top Mayoral Candidates

The top five contenders to be the next mayor of Los Angeles will face questions from Loyola Marymount University students on Feb. 5, just one month before the city’s primary election.

The competition to replace outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa includes the nonpartisan primary election March 5, 2013. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will square off in the May 21 general election.

The debate will bring Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry and Emanuel Pleitez to the Westchester campus.

The mayor’s race is comprised of eight certified candidates, but the top five are considered by seasoned observers as the most viable. Garcetti has been a city council member since 2001; Greuel was a council member and has been city controller since 2009; James is a talk-show host and political commentator; Perry has been a council member since 2001; and Pleitez is former technology company executive.

The debate is the first event in the annual Urban Lecture Series presented each spring semester by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles. Fernando Guerra, director of the Leavey Center, professor of political science and assistant to the president for community engagement, will be the moderator.

Students from political science, economics and urban studies classes connected to the lecture series, will question the candidates. “The students at Loyola Marymount have a vested interest in Los Angeles and it’s important for them to be informed voters,” said Brianne Gilbert, associate director of the Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles. “What better way for them to be informed than to ask the candidates their questions directly?”

The debate is co-sponsored by the Leavey Center and the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce.