Wendy Greuel

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Wendy Greuel
18th City Controller of Los Angeles
In office
July 1, 2009 – July 1, 2013
MayorAntonio Villaraigosa
Preceded byLaura N. Chick
Succeeded byRon Galperin
Member of the Los Angeles City Council from the 2nd District
In office
July 1, 2002 – July 1, 2009
Preceded byJoel Wachs
Succeeded byPaul Krekorian
President pro tempore of the
Los Angeles City Council
In office
July 1, 2005 – July 7, 2009
Preceded byCindy Miscikowski
Succeeded byJan Perry
Personal details
Wendy Jane Greuel

(1961-05-23) May 23, 1961 (age 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Dean Schramm
(m. 2002)
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles[1]

Wendy Jane Greuel (born May 23, 1961) is an American politician. She served as Los Angeles City Controller[2] from 2009–13. Greuel was the second woman elected to citywide office in Los Angeles, after her predecessor Laura Chick.

Previously, she served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 2002–09, where she served as President Pro Tempore and represented the 2nd District, which includes portions of the San Fernando Valley.[3][4] Greuel was a candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, losing to Eric Garcetti, followed by a loss running for California's 33rd congressional district.

She was the first woman to advance to a Los Angeles mayoral runoff, performing better than previous female candidates Linda Griego in 1993, Kathleen Connell in 2001 and Jan Perry also in 2013.[citation needed]

Early and career[edit]

She was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley,[5] the daughter of a Christian church founder.[6] Greuel graduated from Kennedy High School and served as student body president.[5] During high school, she served as a member of then-Mayor Tom Bradley's Youth Council. She continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles,[1] during which time she interned for Councilman Joel Wachs, Mayor Tom Bradley and the City of Los Angeles's office in Washington DC.[7]

Office of Mayor Tom Bradley[edit]

Upon graduation, Greuel worked in Mayor Bradley's office for ten years, serving as Bradley's liaison to the City Council, city departments, and the community on public policy issues ranging from child care to homelessness to senior care and health issues.[8]

During this time, she established the city's first AIDS coordinator, secured funding from the City Council for condoms and bleach to stop the spread of AIDS,[9] worked to find housing for L.A.'s homeless population, including Vietnam War veterans,[10] and helped to create LA's Best, a nationally recognized after-school program for public elementary school students.[10]

Clinton Administration[edit]

From 1993-97, Greuel worked in the administration of President Bill Clinton.[11] She served with Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo,[12] first as the Deputy Director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and later as the field operations officer for Southern California,[13] where she became involved in projects offering opportunities for home ownership, job creation, economic development and social services. During her tenure, she managed HUD's response to the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which included securing over $1 billion in federal funding for recovery efforts.[2]


From 1997 to 2002, Greuel worked as an executive in government and community affairs for DreamWorks SKG, an entertainment studio in Los Angeles.[14]

Los Angeles City Council (2002–2009)[edit]

Greuel in 2006

In 2002, Greuel won a runoff election against Assemblyman Tony Cardenas to fill the remainder of the term of second district Los Angeles Councilman Joel Wachs. She was elected to a full term in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. She served until July 2009, when she was elected to the office of City Controller.[15]

At the time of her departure from the City Council, she was President Pro Tempore, chair of the Transportation Committee and Ad-Hoc Committee on Business Tax Reform, vice chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, and member of the Audits and Governmental Efficiency and Energy and Environment Committees.[2]

As Chair of the Transportation Committee, Greuel added 450 left-turn signals to city streets and led a program to synchronize city traffic lights.[16] She also banned road construction during rush hour[17] and created anti-gridlock zones throughout the city to prevent motorists from parking on major thoroughfares during rush hour.[18]

As Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Business Tax Reform, she implemented a business tax reform proposal in 2003 that reduced business taxes by 15% overall, eliminated all business taxes for companies with gross receipts under $100,000 annually and has returned nearly $100 million to local small businesses.[19]

As a member of the Energy and Environment Committee, Greuel preserved nearly 1,200 acres of open space, including securing funding to purchase 225 acres in the Verdugo Mountains to create the sixth largest passive park in the city.[20] She championed the Scenic Preservation Corridor Plan, which prevents development along the Verdugo's ridge lines.[21] Greuel banned smoking in farmers markets[22] and proposed that all new buildings be wired for solar technology.[23]

Through her position on the Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee, Greuel helped establish the Office of Public Safety in 2004, which consolidated all city-operated security forces (other than the LAPD) and created the Police Fund, a program through which any elected official could address inefficiencies and allocate the money saved to the hiring of new police officers.[24][25]

She developed the Stolen Vehicle Recovery Program, which enabled Department of Transportation officers (rather than police officers) to tow stolen vehicles, allowing police officers more time to respond to violent crime.[26] Greuel also implemented the 50/50 sidewalk program, expediting sidewalk repairs when neighbors contributed 50% of the cost,[27] created the Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Investigative Unit in the City Controller's office[28] and banned political fundraising among City Commissioners.[2]

Greuel launched a district-wide anti-graffiti campaign and pushed to increase the number of neighborhood watch organizations in her district.[29] She also implemented a safety valet program designed to ensure that all elementary school students were supervised entering and exiting schools.[30]

In 2004, Greuel was an instrumental part of a major controversy in a neighborhood in her district when she chose to close a pedestrian bridge. There was a dispute between homeowners on the north side of the Los Angeles River and renters on the south side. Parking was an issue for the renters; they would use the north side neighborhood as overflow parking and cross the pedestrian bridge to their homes. Without any warning, the bridge was closed in 2005. The renters called for a town hall meeting, after which the bridge remained closed. The LAPD then became involved, saying they would close the bridge for 90 days to see if crime rates (the reason the homeowners cited to close the bridge) were affected. Near the end of the trial period, another town hall meeting was called and the officer in charge said that there was no significant change in the crime rates on the north side of the bridge. In the days before the final recommendation from the LAPD was to be released, this officer was discharged from the case and another officer was put in charge. This second officer recommended the bridge be closed for unknown reasons. This remains a point of contention in the renters' neighborhood, as parking is sparse and residents often have to walk blocks to get home while the bridge remains closed. Greuel stayed adamant that the decision to close the bridge was about crime, not parking: "We've received a variety of complaints from people on the bridge side of graffiti, vandalism, drug sales."[31] The police study during those 90 days, however, refuted those claims.

City Controller of Los Angeles (2009–2013)[edit]

Greuel defeated Nick Patsaouras and Kathleen Suzy Evans on March 3, 2009 to become the City Controller of Los Angeles.[32] She took office on July 1, 2009.[2]

Audit record[edit]

By the end of her four-year term, Greuel's office claimed that she had identified over $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse. This assertion emerged as an issue during her 2013 mayoral campaign when her opponent Eric Garcetti argued that the amount was misleading as only several million dollars had actually been recovered. Greuel responded that she had in fact identified over $160 million but that the responsibility for recovering the money belonged to the Mayor and City Council.

In November 2009 and through a follow-up audit in November 2011, Greuel tracked the progress of the LAPD's backlog of untested rape kits. While the department made significant progress in reducing the backlog, Greuel made a series of recommendations to ensure future rape kits would not sit untested on the department's shelves.[33][34]

In November 2011, Greuel expanded the city's Waste, Fraud, and Abuse hotline to accommodate whistleblower tips in more than 150 languages.[35] A tip in 2012 led to Greuel's audit of the Department of Recreation and Parks that found that the city had spent $2 million to house caretakers at two of its remote camps that had been closed for thirteen and twenty years, respectively.[36]

In October 2011, Greuel called for the city to transition to performance based budgeting, a system that requires departments to plan based on specific goals, rather than the line-item budgeting being used. Mayor Eric Garcetti adopted Greuel's recommendation when developing his first budget for Fiscal Year 2014.[37][38]

In May 2011, Greuel audited the city's cell phone use and found that the city wasted as much as $1 million annually by overpaying cellphone carriers and maintaining hundreds of phones that were not in use for months at a time, among other practices.[39]

In October 2010, then-City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced a series of reforms to the workers compensation unit in his office after Greuel uncovered that the unit took too long to settle cases and failed to collect millions of dollars it was due. In 2008, Greuel's predecessor, Controller Laura N. Chick had attempted to audit then-City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's workers compensation unit; however, when Chick issued subpoenas to six of his employees, he sued to block her efforts. Greuel and Trutanich inherited the lawsuit; when a judge ruled in favor of the City Attorney, Greuel appealed the decision, arguing that the City Controller should have the authority to audit all city departments, including elected officials.[40] In October 2011, an appeals court neglected to say whether elected officials could be audited.[41]

Also in October 2010, Greuel penned an op-ed in The Nation with then-Public Advocate, current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasting the Citizens United decision and announcing that they had joined with leaders from other states to found the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending to encourage corporations to be transparent about their political spending.[42]

In August 2010, in the aftermath of the pay scandal in the City of Bell, Greuel unveiled a comprehensive list of city employee salaries on her website, making Los Angeles the largest city in the United States to make this information public.[43]

In July 2010, Greuel reported in one of her audits that the City of Los Angeles had failed to collect over $260 million in traffic tickets and other debts owed to the city, 47% of all debts.[44]

In July 2009, Greuel announced that her Delinquent Taxpayer Program had successfully collected nearly $3 million from 16 delinquent taxpayers in just four months. She stated that over $107 million in delinquent taxes was still to be collected.[45]

Calendar controversy[edit]

On January 7, 2013, the Los Cerritos News published Greuel's public schedule since taking office as Los Angeles City Controller. The article alleged that "she has spent an overwhelming majority of her official schedule for the past three years attending lavish dinners, lunches, breakfasts, and social events in an effort to advance her 2013 mayoral campaign" in possible violation of the Los Angeles Governmental Ethics Commission Ordinance.[46]

2013 Los Angeles mayoral campaign[edit]

Greuel was a candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles in the 2013 election.[47] In the primary election, she placed second to Eric Garcetti and came ahead of Jan Perry, Kevin James and Emanuel Pleitez, thereby advancing to the runoff. Her candidacy was endorsed by a number of public officials including former President Bill Clinton, former Mayor Richard Riordan, LA County Supervisors Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas, State Assembly Speaker John Perez and former Speaker Bob Hertzberg and labor leader Dolores Huerta. She ultimately lost the general election to Eric Garcetti, who became Mayor on July 1, 2013. Had she been elected, Greuel would have been the city's first woman Mayor. She was the first woman to advance to a Los Angeles mayoral runoff, performing better than previous female candidates Linda Griego in 1993, Kathleen Connell in 2001 and Jan Perry in 2013.[citation needed]

After the election, Greuel was viewed as a potentially formidable candidate to replace outgoing LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. However, on January 9, 2014, she announced that she would not be a candidate in the open race.[citation needed]

Subsequent career[edit]

Greuel currently works as a consultant to both the Discovery Cube Science Center in the San Fernando Valley[48] and the California State University, Northridge David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.[49] Mayor Garcetti appointed Greuel as Chairwoman of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority[50] and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl appointed her to the Governing Council of the Los Angeles County Initiative on Women and Girls.[51]

She is a member of the Boards of Directors of Abode Communities,[52] the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE),[53] Emerge California,[54] EMILY's List,[55] the Homeland Security Advisory Council,[56] the Los Angeles YMCA,[57] and Oakwood School,[58] the Advisory Board of The Everychild Foundation,[59] the President's Advisory Council of The Fulfillment Fund,[60] and was one of eleven members of the LA Unified Advisory Task Force, charged with advising LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King.[61]

Personal life[edit]

Greuel is married to attorney Dean Schramm, whom she met during her 2002 campaign; they have a son, born in 2003.[6][62][63] Schramm is a former president of the American Jewish Committee - Los Angeles Executive Board, was active in its "Darfur Task Force"[64] and was the executive producer of the documentary Darfur Now. Schramm is Jewish, and the couple have raised their son in the Jewish faith.[65]


  1. ^ a b "Wendy Greuel '83, 2009 Public Service Award". UCLA Alumni. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Wendy Greuel, Los Angeles City Controller". The City of Los Angeles. Archived from the original on December 25, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Council of the City of Los Angeles July 2012 - June 2013" (PDF). City of Los Angeles. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  4. ^ "Wendy Greuel, City Controller". Political Persona. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Controller takes into account the run for Los Angeles mayor". Our Weekly. June 27, 2012. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Jewish Daily Forward: "Would-Be L.A. Mayor Seeks Jewish Votes - In Race With Jews, Wendy Greuel Notes She Married Into Faith" By Rex Weiner January 29, 2012
  7. ^ McGreevy, Patrick (February 28, 2003). "2nd District's 'Queen of Potholes,' Greuel Is Unopposed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  8. ^ "Ex-Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg backs Wendy Greuel for mayor". Los Angeles Times. August 12, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  9. ^ Ocamb, Karen. "Last Minute on Election Day: Meet LA Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel". Frontiers LA.
  10. ^ a b "Character reference: Wendy Greuel". Jewish Journal. May 15, 2013.
  11. ^ "Wendy Greuel co-chairs Taste of Soul". Los Angeles Sentinel. September 20, 2003. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  12. ^ "Councilwoman Wendy Greuel's Assessment Of L.A.'s Housing Crisis". The Planning Report. November 26, 2003. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  13. ^ "Wendy Greuel, Candidate for City Controller". NBC Los Angeles. February 19, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  14. ^ Ginsberg, Merle; Baum, Gary (August 3, 2012). "Ex-DreamWorks Exec Gathers Support in L.A. Mayor's Race". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  15. ^ Larson, Nicole (March 7, 2011). "Wendy Greuel Files Papers To Run For Mayor Of Los Angeles In 2013". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  16. ^ "City elections endorsements 2009: Wendy Greuel". UCLA Daily Bruin. April 3, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Mayor to Ban Road Work During Rush Hour". Los Angeles Times. August 12, 2005.
  18. ^ Kavanaugh, Kerry. "Panel OKs anti-gridlock, no-parking zones". Daily News.
  19. ^ "L.A. Area Chamber joins Councilwoman Greuel to announce plan to revive local economy". Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. February 24, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  20. ^ Weibe, Chris. "Los Angeles adds land to local park". The Burbank Leader.
  21. ^ Garrison, Jessica (December 20, 2003). "City Council Votes to Block Development in Verdugos". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ Zahniser, David (September 11, 2008). "Farmers market smoke ban passes". Los Angeles Times.
  23. ^ "Official Proposes Solar Wiring in New Buildings". Los Angeles Times. July 21, 2006.
  24. ^ "How about $7,334,470?". Mayor Sam's Sister City. March 18, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  25. ^ "City Council Creates Fund to Hire New Police Officers". Los Angeles Times. October 30, 2004.
  26. ^ "Councilmember Wendy Greuel Champions Effort To Reform L.A.'s Business Tax Code". Planning Report. July 29, 2004. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  27. ^ "Sidewalks of Shame: Cost-sharing Program Swamped by Repair Orders". LA Daily News. January 26, 2006. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  28. ^ "Council File: 04-2415". City of Los Angeles, City Clerk. November 19, 2004. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  29. ^ "Anti-Graffiti Meeting is Tonight". In the Oaks. June 6, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  30. ^ "Councilwoman Wendy Greuel honors parent volunteer". Denver Post. May 9, 2007. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  31. ^ "Wendy Greuel closes pedestrian bridge". The Free Library. November 5, 2004. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  32. ^ "Official Election Results for the March 2009 Election" (PDF). Los Angeles City Clerk. September 29, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  33. ^ "LAPD Can Keep Better Track of Untested Rape Kits, Audit Finds: LAist". November 5, 2017. Archived from the original on November 5, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  34. ^ "City Controller Greuel Releases Audit on DNA Rape Kit Backlog ... LA Community Policing". LACP. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  35. ^ "Waste, Fraud and Abuse Hotline now available in over 150 languages". Los Angeles Sentinel. November 4, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  36. ^ Shyong, Frank (August 29, 2012). "L.A. spent $2 million to keep up camps closed for more than 10 years". Los Angeles Times.
  37. ^ "Blueprint for a Transition to Performance-based Budgeting for the City of Los Angeles" (PDF). October 4, 2011.
  38. ^ "Tipoff: Garcetti down to the nitty-gritty on budget preps". Daily News. February 9, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  39. ^ Linthicum, Kate (May 12, 2011). "Audit finds L.A.'s cellphone tab needlessly high". Los Angeles Times.
  40. ^ Linthicum, Kate (October 14, 2010). "Trutanich overhauls workers' comp unit". Los Angeles Times.
  41. ^ Zahniser, David (October 5, 2011). "Trutanich-Greuel lawsuit dismissed". Los Angeles Times.
  42. ^ Blasio, Bill de; Greuel, Wendy (October 18, 2010). "Corporations Hide Election Spending From the Public Eye". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  43. ^ Quinones, Sam (August 7, 2010). "L.A. city employee salaries posted online". Los Angeles Times.
  44. ^ "Audit finds LA fails to collect nearly half of its debts". Los Angeles Daily News. July 1, 2010. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  45. ^ "The Taxman Cometh". LA Downtown News. July 24, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  46. ^ Hews, Brian (January 7, 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: Wendy Greuel's Official Calendar Shows Years of Campaigning for Mayor on Taxpayer's Dollar".
  47. ^ "Wendy Greuel for Mayor". 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  48. ^ "Discovery Science Center's L.A. offshoot museum to open in November". Los Angeles Times. July 30, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  49. ^ "Wendy Greuel named executive-in-residence for CSUN business college". Los Angeles Daily News. October 12, 2016.
  50. ^ "Wendy Greuel named chair of LA commission that oversees homeless services". Daily News. July 27, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  51. ^ "WGI Governing Council". COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES. February 21, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  52. ^ "Board of Directors". Abode Communities. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  53. ^ "Our Mission". CAUSE. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  54. ^ "Hon. Wendy Greuel". Archived from the original on June 8, 2016.
  55. ^ "Board of Directors". www.emilyslist.org. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  56. ^ "Honorable Wendy Greuel Former Los Angeles City Controller & Los Angeles City Councilmember". Archived from the original on June 6, 2018.
  57. ^ "Our Impact". www.ymcala.org. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  58. ^ "Board of Trustees - Oakwood School". www.oakwoodschool.org. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  59. ^ "The Everychild Foundation Advisory Board". Archived from the original on December 28, 2016.
  60. ^ "Board of Directors". Fulfillment Fund. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  61. ^ "Austin Beutner explains the purpose of the LA Unified Advisory Task Force, and 7 other things you should know about how it will help kids | LA School Report". laschoolreport.com. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  62. ^ "Weddings". Hollywood Reporter. August 14, 2002. Archived from the original on July 18, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  63. ^ "Attorney Search: Dean Andrew Schramm". Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  64. ^ "Dean Schramm, '88: Communicating the Darfur Story". October 9, 2009. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  65. ^ Raphael Sonenshein (June 19, 2013). "The role of L.A.'s Jewish electorate is changing". Jewish Journal. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
Political offices
Preceded by Los Angeles City Controller
Succeeded by
Preceded by Los Angeles City Council
2nd District

Succeeded by
Preceded by President Pro Tempore of the
Los Angeles City Council

Succeeded by