Eric Garcetti delivers a speech on May 21, 2013.
Create more bike lines, make the streets safer, fix potholes, reduce poverty — these are among the top things you told us that you want our new mayor, Eric Garcetti, to do first when we asked you as part of our #DearMayor initiative.
KPCC staff has been hitting the streets of Los Angeles asking folks what they want the city’s next mayor to work on first. We started the conversation online and then traveled to various spots across town from the Coffee Company in Westchester to Auntie Em’s in Eagle Rock.
Eric, here’s a list of the top issues people would like to you to work on first:
1. Create more bike infrastructure, safer roads for all
This was a hot topic during our gathering in Eagle Rock.
Glassell Park resident Jennifer Campbell, for example, frequently rides her bicycle along the L.A. River, but said she would love to feel safer in certain parts of town, like Silver Lake.
Michelle Sallah suggested creating a cyclist education program. “Looks like Metro has already started a campaign to inform motorists of cyclists' rights," she said. "Now we on bikes need to start respecting traffic laws.”
2. Improve our streets, especially potholes
Maintaining the condition of our thoroughfares has been an ongoing challenge in L.A.
Roxy Warrington is one of several folks we heard from who said that fixing city streets is a primary concern. Nonetheless, she’s hoping for preservation as well. "As long as they keep those beautiful old-fashioned lights there. Please don't take those away."
3. Reduce poverty and create solutions for homelessness
Karah Britton of North Hollywood was one of many who said she sees homelessness as a huge problem in L.A.
"I work downtown and [in] Hollywood in a restaurant, and it's just something I notice every day," she said. "There's always somebody on a street corner, or somebody looking for a handout."
4. Education, education, education
We heard from many parents, students and teachers about their concerns regarding education funding. The mayor doesn't have direct control over the city's schools, though he or she can use their clout to influence the direction of L.A.'s school system.
Talk of education included an emphasis on the arts.
"Arts education is very underfunded, and, frankly, it's the first thing to get cut. As somebody whose arts [education] has shaped her life, I think it's really important to keep them in schools," said Aly Marianelli.
5. Keep Metro's expansion on track
Lots of folks are interested in expanding light rail around L.A. Specifically, residents want the option of a train that travels to LAX.
6. But don't expand LAX
Airport concerns were prevalent with residents of Westchester. John Frost said an expansion would endanger residents' health and cramp traffic.
Westchester resident Sandra Bray echoed those concerns and said she wants the next mayor to "take a stand" against LAX's planned expansion.
6. Preserve the entertainment industry in L.A.
Lots of people we chatted with were concerned with the amount of film production that's been leaking out of Los Angeles to other areas. Actor David Wurmlinger summed up the frustration from many in Hollywood: "The talk on the sets I hear, pretty much daily, is, 'Can we keep film in L.A.? Can we keep our jobs [here]?'"
David Valdez, a visual arts artist from Mount Washington, said, "I don't know what can be done, but I'd sure like to find out how that trend can be reversed."
7. Lower the cost of parking tickets — and give us more options
We heard from more than a few folks about parking problems. The cost of parking tickets, the availability of parking — these are things that seem to be top-of-mind for bustling North Hollywood as the area continues its rapid development.
“Funding from parking tickets should go solely to improving and developing public parking lots in Los Angeles,” said Caroline Chamberlain.