L.A. Mayoral Debate

Jan. 28
Royce Hall

UCLA aims to connect students to local L.A. politics later this month by co-hosting the second mayoral debate of the year.

The university will join NBC4 and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs in hosting the debate in Royce Hall on Jan. 28.

UCLA students, faculty and staff can attend the free event by picking up tickets at the Central Ticket Office starting today. Others interested in attending can also get free tickets online by visiting the UCLA Government and Community Relations website.

About 1,700 tickets are available for the debate.

Four of the mayoral candidates will be participating in the debate: City Councilman Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, attorney and radio talk show host Kevin James and City Councilwoman Jan Perry. The debate will focus on jobs, with topics ranging from job creation and economic development to workforce development and overall quality-of-life issues, according to a university statement released Monday.

The co-sponsors of the event collaborated with regional business organizations and others to identify several experts in their fields for the panel who best understand key issues in driving L.A.’s economy, said Michael Kelly, executive director of the L.A. Coalition. UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Dean Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. will join community members in presenting questions to the candidates as a panel of experts.

By co-hosting the debate, The L.A. Coalition wants to identify which candidate can make Los Angeles an economic leader, Kelly said.

“We hope to further along discussion of what kind of mayor is going to lead L.A. into the 21st century economy,” Kelly said.

UCLA has hosted a number of political debates over the years. In 1988, then Vice President George Bush and Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis took the stage in Pauley Pavilion for the second presidential debate of that year.

Part of UCLA’s goal in hosting this event is to connect students with Los Angeles and local issues, said Steve Ritea, a UCLA spokesman. He said because the outcome of this election will affect UCLA as part of the L.A. community, the debate is relevant to UCLA students.

“The next mayor of Los Angeles will mean a lot to this campus,” Ritea said. “We’re pleased and proud to be part of a forum where voters and students can benefit by making an informed choice after hearing from these folks.”

Anna Saraie, fourth-year political science and global studies student, said she was unaware that the debate was happening but is now considering attending.

She said she is more likely to be involved in local politics when events are closer to home at UCLA.

“I’m interested in issues that affect our lives here on campus,” Saraie said. “It’s difficult to bring students to the politics; we need to bring the politics to the students.”

L.A. residents will vote for a new mayor on May 21.

Email Benjamin at bpowell@media.ucla.edu.