Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Eric Garcetti sworn in as LA's 42nd mayor

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Update 8:32 p.m.: Standing on the steps of City Hall Sunday, Eric Garcetti pledged to be a back to basics mayor who would revitalize the local economy while remaining a man of the people.

Though he was legally sworn in as mayor Friday in a private ceremony, Garcetti took the oath of office from Kenia Castillo, an eighth grader who met the new mayor a decade ago when he attended an event in support of janitors.

“My great-grandparents never would have dreamed that I’d be standing here today – soon to be the 42nd mayor of the great city of Los Angeles. What’s remarkable about my family’s story is that it’s yours, too,” Garcetti said.

During his inaugural address, some of the loudest cheers came when Garcetti said he would make every general manager reapply for their jobs – something he frequently said during the campaign. The new mayor pledged to make public goals for all of the general managers in an effort to be more transparent.

Outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Council President Herb Wesson both attended the evening ceremony, along with several newly elected and reelected councilmen – Gil Cedillo, Bob Blumenfield, Paul Koretz, Felipe Fuentes, Curren Price, Mike Bonin, Mitch O’Farrell and Joe Buscaino. Mike Feuer was sworn in as city attorney and Ron Galperin, the first LGBT candidate to be elected to citywide office, was sworn in as the controller. The Los Angeles city government does not have any women in elected office, a point drive home by Wesson, who referred to the city council has both a “brotherhood” and “fraternity.”

The new mayor will mark his first official day in power with office hours.

Update 7:18 p.m.: Garcetti becomes LA's 42nd mayor

Eric Garcetti became Los Angeles’ 42nd mayor in an inauguration ceremony Sunday evening. 

The former president of the Los Angeles City Council is the city’s first elected Jewish mayor. At the age of 42, Garcetti is also one of the youngest mayors in the city’s history.

The star-studded inaugural activities featured Jimmy Kimmel and the musician Moby.

The 42-year-old Garcetti has promised to attend to longstanding gripes about potholes and cracked sidewalks while getting the city's economy moving. In his inaugural speech, he promised to lead a sometimes 'rotary' city government into a 'cell phone' era.

Garcetti promised a customer-friendly, business-friendly government that will be accountable to its people and bullish on attracting new businesses to the region. 

On day one, Garcetti said he'll ask every general manager in the mayor's office to reapply for his or her job, and promise his administration would be more open and more accountable than past administrations.

"At every step of the way, you, the people of Los Angeles, can hold our feet to the fire," he said. "And see that we're meeting out goals, and making L.A. the city you need and deserve it to be."

 L.A.'s new mayor also drew on his background and that of his grandparents, as representative of the city's background.

"You see, my family's story in Los Angeles begins humbly," he said. "One side of my family crossing an ocean and a continent to flee persecution in Poland and Russia. The other side crossing a river escaping war in Mexico, looking for a better life."

Officially, Garcetti takes over the job leading a sprawling city of nearly 4 million people on Monday, replacing fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa.

Update 2:12 p.m.: Soon-to-be mayor spends Sunday morning at AME Church

Garcetti began his day at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church attending an “Inaugural Prayer Service.”

There was gospel signing, sermonizing, and many prayers for Eric Garcetti, who is the city’s first Jewish mayor.

Garcetti has been a frequent visitor to the Southeast L.A. church, as many L.A. politicians are. The church touts a membership of over 19,000 and is considered an important stop for those seeking office in the city.

In a brief speech, Garcetti called on congregants to lead with him.

“We have to raise a generation that believes we are a great city,” he said.

Miles Goodson, of Los Angeles, attended the service, and like many in attendance he said has high hopes for Garcetti.

“I think he’s going to be here for eight years,” said Goodson. “The guy has a vision. He basically works in the Obama mode.”

Launa Ridgeway, who’s president of First AME’s choir, said she hoped the new mayor would focus on helping the city’s homeless.

“It’s outrageous,” said Ridgeway. “We have just too many people on the streets.”

Garcetti to hold office hours Monday

Garcetti was elected May 21 with 54 percent of the vote. Prior to the election, he spent 12 years as the councilman of the Thirteenth District, which stretches from Echo Park to Hollywood.

In the past six weeks, Garcetti’s transition team received 2,000 applications for jobs and commission appointments. The mayor-elect also embarked on a listening tour throughout the city. Just a week before his inauguration, Garcetti and his family took a vacation to Belize where his sister-in-law was working in a medical clinic.

Garcetti will hold office hours in City Hall on Monday for regular citizens to have a few minutes with the mayor. 

With contributions from Eric Zassenhaus

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