Wendy Greuel interviewed by Natalie M. Fousekis, April 19, 2016, Los Angeles, California, Oral History #5845, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Wendy Greuel, former Los Angeles City Councilwoman. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding her political career including her time on the L.A. City Council. Specifically, this interview talks about Greuel’s childhood in the San Fernando Valley; family’s religious and geographical background; early political involvement including winning the Youth Leadership Award and serving on the Mayor’s Youth Council under Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley; her internship in Joel Wachs office; reflects on her education including years at Kennedy High and UCLA; role models; challenge of taking a new job in City Hall with Deputy Mayor Grace Montañez Davis; talks about key issues she worked on at City Hall including creating the City/County AIDS Task Force and L.A. Homeless Services Authority, and L.A.’s first city childcare center (Joy Picus Center); memories of the 1992 riots; talks about joining the Clinton Administration (1993-97) as the Deputy Director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and later field operations officer for Southern California following the 1994 Northridge earthquake; moving to DreamWorks and working in corporate affairs; why she ran for L.A. City Council in 2002, campaign strategy, and reaction to winning the election; shares how she met her husband; talks about the challenge of redistricting and why she supported immediate implementation; experience of becoming a first-time mom at the beginning of her City Council term; reflects on her colleagues supporting her decision to be a working mom, specifically Antonio Villaragosa; key issues she worked on while as councilwoman: business tax reform, chairing the transportation committee, and collaborating with Controller Laura Chick on the audits committee; compares leadership styles between male and female councilmembers; talks about gender discrimination women face as elected officials; talks about losing her mom; what it takes to be an effective city councilmember; talks about what motivated her as an elected official; describes leadership style; speaks about being elected as City Controller and key accomplishments including: continued auditing of backlogged rape kits and transportation; why she ran for mayor in 2013, campaign challenges, and how she accepted losing to Eric Garcetti; reflects on the political support she received from her family and how the mayoral loss affected her son; talks about current position as vice chair of the board of the Discovery Cube L.A. and serving on the L.A. Homeless Service Authority; why she ran for Congress in 2014; how Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 presidential election will impact future women running for office; why she considers herself a feminist; comments on why more women aren’t in elected office; why it’s important for women to be in politics and the need for political training through organizations like Emerge California; shares advice to young women considering running for political office; what she’s most proud of in her political career; and finally, talks about life post-politics and why it’s important to involve yourself in causes you are passionate about.
Wendy Greuel, 2016.
Wendy Greuel with interviewer, Dr. Natalie Fousekis, 2016.
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