Garcetti endorsed Paul Koretz to succeed him as mayor

Garcetti endorsed Paul Koretz to succeed him as mayor

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday the city needs a leader who will fight for L.A.’s future.

The mayor, who is a Democrat like Garcetti, endorsed City Councilman Paul Koretz to succeed him despite a strong conservative challenger.

“The times that I’ve worked with Paul, he’s been a champion for the city’s underbelly,” Garcetti said. “He’s never been afraid to talk directly to people in the community, and fight for those that have felt the least.”

Garcetti said Koretz was his first choice for mayor, but he has decided the two candidates will compete in a runoff election on June 24.

Koretz said he welcomed the endorsement.

“It’s exciting and humbling to have the mayor’s support, and to see the challenges that we all share,” Koretz said. “We’re a city that has been waiting for a leader to step up to the plate. I’m here to serve.”

Koretz has been backed by Garcetti and other Democrats and was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton. He said he has grown with the city through adversity.

He has been criticized for what appears to be an out-of-touch spending spree and his handling of redevelopment issues. He has also faced opposition from businesses and has tried to improve relations with the city’s businesses.

Koretz and Koretz also have been scrutinized for their roles in the city’s public corruption investigation that led to the arrest last month of former city administrator, former councilman and mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa.

Under Garcetti, L.A. expanded in a number of key ways, including increasing the tax base and building major projects. He also took on the daunting problems caused by the earthquake and fire that hit Southland in 2011, and completed a $2.2 billion bond election.

Garcetti said Koretz had served well by leading the city through a

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