April 11, 2013
By Jennifer Bihm
“When I see Wendy, I see a strong person,” said Lorraine Bradley, retired school teacher and daughter of the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
Lorraine Bradley recently announced her endorsement of Controller Wendy Greuel as the city’s next mayor, pointing to her “great leadership qualities” as one of the reasons.
“She learned from the best how to be a leader and what that entails,” she said.
“The best,” being her late father, who led the city for 20 years (from 1973 to 1993) and whose (as some have put it ) “accomplishments transcended his flaws.” One biographer wrote: “A man of quiet determination, Bradley spent a lifetime bridging racial barriers and used his skills to forge extraordinary coalitions, most notably between Blacks and Jews and between labor and business. He presided over a period of enormous growth in Los Angeles… Bradley also was key to the racial peace that the rapidly diversifying city enjoyed during most of his five-term hold on the mayor's office. He opened doors for minorities and women to serve on city commissions, to rise in the ranks of City Hall employees and to share in city contracts…”
As a young woman, Greuel had been a beneficiary to Tom Bradley’s brand of humanitarianism and basically grew up, said Lorraine, in her dad’s office.
“When he took office and became mayor, he involved a lot of people, mostly young people and trained them to become what they are now,” she recalled.
“That’s what he liked to do. He liked to take young people and let them be trained in the correct way so they could see how things functioned, then put them in so they could do it. They would learn. And then, they had the opportunity to choose what they wanted to be…”
Greuel served in Tom Bradley’s office for 10 years, mainly as his spokesperson to the City Council, various departments and Los Angeles residents. She left in 1993, the end of his term, to work for then President Bill Clinton as field operations officer for Southern California’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. During that time, Greuel had been involved in job creation and homeownership projects, social services and economic development.
She served on Los Angeles’ City Council from 2003 to 2009, taking the job of controller in July that same year.
“All those years, [she was] a fighter, a go-getter, someone who was always in there pushing and trying to do the right thing,” Lorraine Bradley said.
“From the beginning when she came to work as a teenager for daddy, she had no idea what all of this entailed… what politics was about. Obviously over the many years she found out what politics was really about. And, yet she’s managed to work in private industry and come back to public [as a] councilperson, controller and knows what she wants to do and how she wants to help people, because my father was all about helping people. And if that wasn’t what you wanted to do and be involved in on a daily basis then you didn’t work for him.
“And so, she knows about working with people, to try to get them to solve problems. Because, you can’t work in a vacuum. You can’t solve problems unless you work with others.”
Her friendship with Greuel notwithstanding, Lorraine Bradley as a Los Angeles resident and voter said she wants the city’s next mayor to focus on generating more revenue here.
“Hopefully more of it will come to us so that programs that are so important to the city and to the people of the city will continue. I think more than anything that will be [Greuel’s] objective, to try to balance the budget so that people aren’t hurt. She knows what she needs to do. She’s the controller so she knows where the money is.”