Eric Garcetti at a fundraiser for Latino supporters during his mayoral campaign.
Eight years ago, when I was editor-in-chief of Ciudad Magazine, we heralded the election of Antonio Villaraigosa as L.A.'s first modern-day Mexican-American mayor.
At another junction during the magazine's three-year life, we published a cover story titled: "The New Angelenos Are Half-Latino: How They're Changing the Face of Our Wildly Diverse Metropolis." The story examined how Latinos in L.A. are increasingly the children or partners of people from other ethnicities and races.
And now L.A. has a mayor who fits that bill.
Some Latinos quibble with Eric Garcetti's pedigree. His mother is Jewish, and his Italian surname comes from a European ancestor who emigrated to Mexico. But he is firm about his ethnic bona fides.
“Both of my father’s parents were proudly Mexican-American, both spoke Spanish as their first language," Garcetti told KPCC last year. "My grandfather was born in Mexico, my grandmother’s parents were from Mexico.” He's also spoken of his grandparents' former house in Boyle Heights being his second home.
Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti was mobbed by reporters and enthusiastic supporters Wednesday afternoon during his first availability since defeating Controller Wendy Greuel for the city's top job.
Preliminary results show Garcetti won with 54 percent of the vote.
"I want to thank the voters who believed in the idea that a record of results was worth voting for," Garcetti said. "That something they could see with their own eyes on the streets of the heart of Los Angeles from Hollywood to Atwater Village, here where the city started, they’ve seen turn around for over a decade. And they also believed that an independent mayor was worth voting for."
Garcetti's last remark continues the campaign's mantra that labor support for Greuel would unfairly sway her when it came time for contract negotiations. The Garcetti campaign didn't benefit from the same outside spending and high-profile endorsements that Greuel received.
City Controller Wendy Greuel monitored election returns with her husband Dean Schramm and her nine-year-old son Thomas Tuesday evening. On Wednesday morning, she conceded to Eric Garcetti.
When Wendy Greuel took to the stage Tuesday evening at downtown's Exchange club, she and Eric Garcetti were virtually tied in the mayor's race. By early Wednesday morning, it became clear that Garcetti would be mayor-elect. Greuel phoned Garcetti in the middle of the night and then later gave a concession speech at her campaign headquarters in the San Fernando Valley.
The unofficial returns posted by the City Clerk show Garcetti beat Greuel 54 percent to 46 percent.
"Congratulations, Mayor-Elect Garcetti. I sincerely wish you the very best, both on a personal level, and — because your success is critical to the success of Los Angeles – for your family, and mine, and for each and every resident of the greatest city in the world," Greuel said.
Had she been elected, Greuel would have become the city's first female mayor. When Tuesday's winners are sworn in on July 1, the mayor, controller, city attorney and every member of the Los Angeles City Council will be a man. (Until the District 6 runoff later in July, which matches two women.)
Eric Garcetti hugs his wife Amy Wakeland after his speech at the Hollywood Palladium on election night.
Eric Garcetti, the Eastside city councilman of Mexican and Russian Jewish descent, and son of former L.A. County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, will succeed Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor of the nation’s second largest city.
Garcetti, 42, beat City Controller Wendy Greuel 54 to 46 percent, despite being heavily outspent during the campaign by Greuel and her labor union allies. Those unions spent more than $3 million on her behalf. Garcetti successfully argued the support would make her beholden to organized labor, especially the union that represents Department of Water and Power workers.
“Thank you to the voters of Los Angeles who voted for strong, independent leadership,” an optimistic Garcetti told supporters late Tuesday night at the Hollywood Palladium before the city clerk had released the final results. “We faced some powerful forces in this race.”
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.