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Why I'm Running for Mayor of Los Angeles

By Craig Greiwe

December 20, 2021

There is something powerful about the experiences of severe poverty. As a child growing up in rural Indiana, I experienced some of the most severe poverty, hunger and desperation in America. We had no money, and even in the midst of a small poor town, we stood out at the bottom of the barrel.  Even now, I can feel the angst and emotion from growing up with nothing. Those feelings never really leave you.

 

There is also something powerful about being abandoned. I am not sure if my parents wondered if I was gay when they told me it was time to fend for myself.  I’m not sure it would have mattered. I was 14 years old.  I had no idea what to do or where to go, and suddenly every decision meant life or death.  That accountability never leaves you.  I was so scared I wouldn’t make it that I became addicted to making it.  I worked multiple jobs, read everything I could get my hands on, and scratched and crawled my way through college at USC and then Columbia Law School—all on scholarship, while working full time.

 

I returned to LA and built a successful career as a marketing and business executive. In my line of work, I help businesses map out long term strategies based on market and product trends.  I go into major companies with all the resources in the world that are headed into trouble, and I re-align those resources to make everything work successfully. Funny, it is my experiences growing up in a family that had no direction or plan that helped me become an expert at having direction and a plan.

 

I am forever grateful to my adopted parents and the wonderful friends I made over the years. They inspire me. But I am also inspired by the hard-working immigrant families in this city who have the same look in their eyes I had when I arrived in LA. Scared. Nervous. Willing to work harder than anyone to make it. Grateful. But filled with pain. As the saying goes, that which does not kill you only makes you stronger.

 

LA isn’t rural Indiana but our journeys are the same. In both places, we have to claw our way to a life that matters, just to get what’s fair.  In both places, the system is broken. In both places, a select few play by their own rules.

 

Just a couple years ago I began asking myself simple questions. Am I the only one who sees LA sinking? Why can ‘t we get people housing? Why is the cost of living skyrocketing? Why is there so much corruption? And finally, why is everyone yelling? I set about to do what I’ve done my entire life: find answers to some of life’s seemingly impossible challenges.  I started digging, on my own, into what could be done.  What were other cities doing, for example, to address homelessness?  And it didn’t stop. Why were the streets clean in Austin and not LA?  Why were politicians here in office for 40 years if things never got any better?

 

The answer was simple: because we let it be that way.  Step one was understanding that our leaders rob us blind because we don’t stop them.  They get away with corruption and ineptitude because we, the people of LA, have let them.  Step two was putting a stop to it.  So I vowed to do my part.  To break the cycle.

 

I founded Rise Together to amplify the voices of common ground and common sense.  We moved to engage and activate people, knowing that 2022 was an opportunity to take back this city. Rise Together is now a thriving, independent non-profit doing incredible work to educate the public and get them to invest in honest conversations about what type of leadership they want.

 

Still, I realized there was one major question that dwarfed all others: who will be our next mayor? I tried for months to find someone who could give voice to everyday Angelenos; someone with bold solutions that were vested in real policy understanding and not just rhetoric; someone who cared more about the people of LA than their own career ambitions.  That candidate never emerged. Then a good friend said to me that leadership means when there’s no one else, you must step into the ring.  So, I came to the difficult decision, after evaluating every other possible option, to declare my candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles.  And while I know it won’t be easy, it’s not complicated.

 

I will be a Mayor who understands Angelenos’ problems, who will inspire and lead our city with a big vision, and who will bring all the city’s people together to make that vision real.  As Mayor, I will:

  • Move LA to functional zero homelessness in under four years
  • Create a city where no more than 30% of your income goes to rent
  • Bring down crime, and create a safe and just city
  • Re-inspire the people of this city to trust in LA again

 

I am running for Mayor of Los Angeles to fix this city; the only candidate with real, concrete plans.  I am running to restore the dream we all once had, of a city that works for you, not at your expense.  I believe that LA can and should be the greatest city in America.  That we should dare to dream again.  And most importantly, that it’s all possible with the right leadership.  That’s why I’m running.  This is our town.  It’s time to take it back.  Learn more about our plans, and contribute to our campaign.  We can do this, together.

 

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