Los Angeles City Controller candidate Rob Wilcox, who currently serves as communications director for City Attorney Mike Feuer, has dropped out of the race and endorsed Councilman Paul Koretz.
Ballots for the election were already sent out with Wilcox’ name. Voting ends on June 7.
“Nearly a year ago, I jumped into the race for Controller because I believed that I was the best candidate to get LA moving again,” Wilcox said. “However, it has become evident that I do not have sufficient financial support to be able to finish in the top two in the primary and advance to the November election, so I have decided to step aside.”
The ballot includes controller candidates Koretz, certified public accountant and housing justice advocate Kenneth Mejia, self-described public school teacher J. Carolan O’Gabhann, self-described chief financial officer David Vahedi, CFO and Assistant Director of the Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Street Services Stephanie Clements and Reid Lidow, a former executive officer to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Wilcox endorsed Koretz, saying he has known him for 30 years and “he has the right experience and knowledge to be an effective controller.”
He added that the two leading candidates for controller — Koretz and Mejia — “have starkly different visions, values and viewponts.”
Wilcox alleged that Mejia “has alarming views that are out of step with the majority of Angelenos,” citing his criticisms of Los Angeles’ allocating more than $3 billion in funding to the Los Angeles Police Department, including money for pensions.
Mejia has advocated for the city to invest some of that money instead in community programs that address the root causes of crime. As controller, an official who does not have control over the city’s budget, Mejia has said he wants to shine a light on how the city’s LAPD budget is spent and what kind of impact it makes in the city.
“While LA grapples with surging crime, he wants to decimate LAPD’s budget. With our national discourse dominated by social media bullies espousing lies and embracing extremism, Mejia called Joe Biden a racist and a rapist. That is shameful and unacceptable from anyone, let alone a candidate for a citywide office in Los Angeles,” Wilcox said.
Mejia responded in a statement to City News Service, saying, in part, “We always expected that City Hall insiders in this race would join forces against us because of the amazing outsider, grassroots, and diverse campaign we’re running that this city has never seen before. We are focused on continuing to provide Angelenos information about the city’s finances and practical resources like our affordable housing map that have helped people find housing.”