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Meet the Candidates: Eric Garcetti

images Eric Garcetti, son of former L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti, is running for the office of  Mayor of Los Angeles.  He currently holds the elected position of L.A. City councilman representing the 13th District, which covers Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Little Armenia, Silver Lake and Thai Town, which he has served since 2001.  We thank Mr. Garcetti and his staff for taking the time to respond to our Q&A, which was supplied to all current candidates, in an effort to introduce you to our readers.  We have included Mr. Garcetti’s responses in their entirety and we wish him good luck!  

Please state your name and time as a resident in the City of Los Angeles and which district do you reside?

My name is Eric Garcetti.  I am a fourth generation Angeleno who was raised in the San Fernando Valley in the City of Los Angeles. I currently live in Silver Lake.

What makes you qualified to run for the seat you wish to fill?

I have a proven record of creating jobs and solving problems for Angelenos, and that’s what I will focus on as Mayor.

I am the City Councilmember representing L.A.’s 13th District and Chair of the Council Jobs and Business Development Committee. I was elected four times by my peers as City Council President, from 2006 to 2012.

My district is number one in job growth. I’ve helped small businesses cut red tape and have reached out to recruit large employers to the neighborhoods I represent.

We have tripled the number of parks, adding 31 (16 to 47), made sure there is an after school program for every school, and created an anti-graffiti program recognized by the National League of Cities that has helped reduce graffiti by 80% percent in my district. I’ve also focused on prevention and intervention programs for youth. I proudly launched At the Park After Dark (now Summer Night Lights), which today serves hundreds of thousands of youth at parks citywide.  I also launched the city’s first smart phone app, so people can get problems like potholes and graffiti fixed anytime from the palms of their hands, instead of having to make a call during certain hours and wait on hold.

The result is tremendous turnarounds in Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake and Atwater Village. Bloomberg reports Hollywood is seeing more investment than it has in four decades. Echo Park was named by the American Planning Association as one of the nation’s top 10 neighborhoods. Silver Lake and Atwater Village were both recently recognized as being among the nation’s best neighborhoods by national magazines. This was unthinkable when I took office and shows what is possible in all of L.A.’s diverse communities.

I am the only candidate in the race who has personally negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in pension reforms. I wrote the nation’s largest green building ordinance, spearheaded the nation’s largest affordable housing trust fund, and authored the nation’s first tenant foreclosure eviction moratorium.

I have laid out a specific agenda for my administration to get L.A. back to work and make sure City Hall works for the people it serves.

My agenda to create jobs as Mayor includes a specific plan to create 20,000 jobs in my first term through solar installation, making buildings more efficient and cleaning our water. I have also announced a detailed plan to revamp L.A.’s job training system so that it’s faster and easier for people to access. I will create partnerships to ensure our kids are being taught the languages of the current and future economy – both foreign languages and computer programming languages. I will work with community colleges citywide to create one-stop job training and placement centers with direct pipelines to key industries – like we have already done at Los Angeles City College through our Healthcare Career Ladder. And I will finally connect the city with our local and regional universities so we can take ideas from the classroom to the boardroom like the Silicon Valley does with U.C. Berkeley and Stanford. I am also the leader in eliminating the city’s “gross receipts tax,” which drives businesses away from Los Angeles by being the highest in the county and a type of tax that taxes businesses even when they lose money. I have a responsible, 15-year proposal that includes annual reviews to protect the budget.

To make City Hall a place that solves problems for L.A. residents quickly and efficiently, on day one of my administration, I will require every department head to reapply for their position. I will hold managers accountable through new and public performance-based metrics that measure economic growth, efficiency, and customer service. I will hire L.A.’s first Chief Technology Officer to identify, test, and deploy technologies to help the City be more responsive to the communities we serve. Bringing city government into the 21st century will also save taxpayer dollars now wasted on antiquated systems.  These steps will also make Los Angeles more attractive (and easier to navigate) for businesses.

What are your visions for generating additional revenue to shore up the Cities fiscal deficiencies?

My top priority to balance our budget is to grow our economy (see above). The focus at City Hall of more taxes and more cuts is simply wrong. We must focus on growing our economy. That is the paradigm shift I will bring to City Hall as Mayor. We must understand that jobs and economic growth not only help families pay for their bills, they also generate the revenues that support public safety, parks, libraries, transportation, and other critical public services.  I’m proud that in the midst of a recession, my district is number one in job growth.

Second, the overwhelming majority of city expenses are related to personnel costs. I am the only candidate in the race who had personally negotiated pension reforms totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. I have shown a path forward to work with unions to address costs without politics and gridlock.

Third, I created the Commission On Revenue Efficiency (CORE) and facilitated the hiring of an Inspector General for Revenue and Collections at City Hall to ensure city services were not being cut because we were leaving money on the table. As Mayor, I will implement the Commission’s findings, which include 65 recommendations. As Mayor, I would immediately move the Inspector General to work directly out of my office.

Fourth, I will aggressively pursue cost-saving technologies.

How will you work with the current council to ensure the City reaches solvency?

I believe I will work well with the Council to advance the proposals I’ve detailed above to create jobs and reform government so it better solves problems for L.A. residents and businesses. I was elected by my Council peers as Council President four times, and served 2006 to 2012.

What ways will you work to increase HS graduation rates in your district?

We must make sure our schools are being fully-funded by the state. Proposition 98 requires per-pupil spending of $7,000. Unfortunately, the state is providing less than $6,000 per L.A. student, and half is being provided in the form of IOUs.  As Mayor, I will fight for full funding of every L.A. school.

I will build on the results I’ve delivered in my district such as ensuring there is an after school program for every school; creating summer programs like At the Park After Dark (now Summer Night Lights), which now provides a safe place to go and enrichment activities for hundreds of thousands of youth; and supporting Cash for College, which removes one of the biggest barriers to the dream of college – not the lack of money, but overcoming the complex red tape to access it.

As Mayor, I will break down the walls that have turned our schools into isolated islands in our communities. This means using city funds to help our schools as I have in my district where we have built community centers and athletic fields for students and the neighborhood.

Is there anything else you wish to address not covered in this Q&A?

I live with my wife, Amy, and our one-year-old daughter. I am a U.S. Navy reservist and an avid pianist. Before being elected to the Council, I taught at USC and Occidental College.

 

Read more about Eric’s  accomplishments and who his supporters  are who feel he is a suitable candidate to hold the office of Mayor.

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