The Honorable Eric Michael Garcetti
The new mayor for the City of The Angels, an office steeped in tradition, but beset by new problems
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer
In a tight, hard fought political race for L.A. mayor, Eric Michael Garcetti emerged the victor in the early hours this morning. Throughout the evening hours, commentators would speculate and discuss the different variables in each of the races. And we all watched as one opponent bested the other by a few points, albeit for only a few minutes at a time.
Published on LatinoLA: May 22, 2013
Mention was made of an exit poll conducted by Loyola Marymount University (my alma mater), which consisted of phone and personal contact with voters. That exit poll proved to be the most true indicator of the election results.
Early on in the evening, after the polls had closed, Mr. Garcetti and his wife were photographed while reviewing the preliminary poll results. A statement was made that Mr. Garcetti would not address his staff and supporters until all of the results were in and tallied.
His opponent, Wendy Greuel, a one-time City Controller, did address her supporters while the numbers were still up in the air. Her mood was one of controlled and restrained happiness, as if she was simply glad to have finished the race. Her young son accompanied her. She did not declare victory, nor did she concede defeat. Ms. Greuel took a "wait and see" attitude.
While both Mr. Garcetti and Ms. Greuel had been members of the City Council, and had once been viewed as allies, the political race for the Mayoral spot devolved into a crass, below-the-belt altercation. Ms. Greuel removed the gloves and kept them off for the major portion of the campaign, perhaps feeling defensive about her stint as City Controller.
During the primary race, she often ran ads stating that she "had found the fat in the city" and, as mayor, "would eradicate it." Prone as I personally am to respond to such fodder, I would mutter at the commercial. "Why don't you tell us your big secret NOW, when we need it?" My husband reminded me, as he does at least once a night, that those on television cannot hear me. I did wonder, though, why more was not made of this "promise"--and why we had to wait for the election to be let in on the secret.
Ms. Greuel's fate seemed to be cast when news erupted which showed that Forty Two Million dollars had lingered in the city's coffers FOR YEARS. Certainly, that money had been earmarked for transportation. Ms. Greuel did her best to foist responsibility upon the City Council, claiming they were ultimately to blame for the non-use of the much needed funds. It appears that the voters who remembered this financial fiasco held her ultimately responsible. The City Controller is tasked with the total control and distribution of finances of the City. Forty Two Million Dollars was more than this city could forget, especially in this difficult economy.
Mr. Garcetti, now Mayor-Elect Garcetti, steps into an office steeped in tradition, but beset by new problems. He, unlike Ms. Greuel, did not underline that he would be the "first this or the first that", if elected. If anything, he downplayed his political and cultural lineage. A true man of all the people of this city.
His physical demeanor is one of warmth, humanity and culture. Ignorance will play no part in the Garcetti tenure. If anything, he will surround himself with equally well-educated advisors, who will consider all aspects of a situation, and will actively seek out a firm and effective answer.
I wish him well.
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer:
A Latina Writer and Attorney, A Political Analyst In The City of the Angels