January 31, 2013
L.A.‘s mayoral candidates court Jews and Hollywood
In L.A.’s mayoral race there are two communities to which the candidates are eager to prove their closeness and connection: the Jewish community and Hollywood.
At their second synagogue debate earlier this week at Sinai Temple (the first took place at Beth Jacob on Jan. 3) the bulk of the five mayoral candidates were quick to address their Jewish connection in their opening remarks (watch the full debate here). The cozying up became so obvious, in fact, that when a colleague of mine conducted an interview at the end of the debate the first thing the woman complained about was how much certain candidates “played the Jewish card.”
Yesterday, an email from Eric Garcetti’s campaign boasted that more than 200 entertainment leaders have endorsed the City Councilman, including former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Showtime president David Nevins and Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Other notable names include Jon Feltheimer, CEO of Lions Gate Entertainment, Kevin Huvane, partner at CAA, entertainment entrepreneur Michael Ovitz and sibling showrunners David Kohan (“Will and Grace”) and Jenji Kohan (“Weeds”).
Hollywood seems to be split between the two frontrunners -- Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel, who likes to tout her industry cred as a former employee of the “iconic” Dreamworks SKG, the movie studio founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. Greuel worked in corporate affairs for Dreamworks from 1997 to 2002 and easily won endorsements from her former bosses last summer, as well as from J.J. Abrams, Leonard Nimoy and Candy Spelling. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney Studios chief Alan Horn and WME superagent Ari Emanuel also gave early endorsements to Greuel.
The subject of Hollywood figured squarely into the debate Tuesday night when Rabbi David Wolpe, the evening’s moderator, asked the candidates what message they had for the entertainment industry.
Bill Boyarsky writes in L.A. Observed:
Boyarsky added that he found it “gutty” for Perry to speak so candidly to an industry that “brooks no criticism.” And although she won big on Tuesday night among her mayoral colleagues -- each of the four other candidates said that if they weren’t running, they’d vote Perry -- she has not managed to secure as many allies in the entertainment industry as Garcetti and Greuel. Perhaps that’s why she has chosen to play up her conversion to Judaism instead.