LOS ANGELES — Between the Pikachu mascot, the corgi logos and TikTok dances, it’s clear Kenneth Mejia is anything but politics as usual. He’s running against City Council member Paul Koretz to be Los Angeles’ next city controller, touting his experience as a certified public accountant.

“I can take data, break it down and explain it in a way to people that’s easy to understand,” Mejia said.

The activist is part of a wave of millennial candidates taking on Los Angeles establishment Democrats from the left. Mejia, a tenant’s rights activist, is a police and prison abolitionist who believes in systemic change to solve LA’s problems. 

“I want to abolish poverty. I want to abolish hunger. Things that make it difficult to live in LA,” Mejia said.

Koretz is firing back — saying Mejia is too radical for public office, citing his old tweets, including one in 2018 saying “Not a fan of police. That is the one thing stopping many revolutionary uprisings in America.”

“Where George Gascon is to the left of mainstream, these people are almost on a different planet,” Koretz said.

Former Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick wrote a scathing open letter warning the public not to vote for Mejia.

“I think I became fearful that Mr. Mejia will destroy the office,” Chick said. “That he’s got an ideological which is wrong for city controller and that he will use the power of the audits to hurt, to punish, to go after people, instead of working to fix what’s broken inside the city.”

As controller, Chick exposed a backlog of thousands of untested DNA rape kits at the Los Angeles Police Department. While audits can expose problems, she says relationships make change. 

“You need to get along with the mayor and council well enough so that when you’re done with an audit, you hand it off to the mayor and council. They’re the ones who implement the audit recommendations,” Chick said.

She’s supporting Koretz, and says his decades in government have prepared him for the role. 

“I honestly planned to retire at the end of my council term but a few years ago I thought to myself, ‘Well, I developed this skill set, I should at least offer myself up to the voters,’” Koretz said.

Former Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation Rick Cole said Koretz will be more of the same in a city facing numerous crisis involving affordability, homelessness and public safety. Cole first reached out to Mejia when he saw the campaign’s billboard featuring the city budget.

“Usually candidates are either attacking their opponent or saying that they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread and here was a candidate who was trying to educate the public,” said Cole, who believes Mejia is already bringing much needed sunlight to city finances by creating interactive maps.

“If people are afraid of Kenneth Mejia, it’s because they have something to hide,” Cole said.

Mejia says the choice in November is pretty clear.

“I think our campaign is a threat to the status quo and what City Hall has been for decades,” Mejia said.