5 highlights from LA Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti's Reddit AMA on ideas for city's future

Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti offering the traditional proof image that the account actually belongs to him for a Reddit AMA, Thursday, June 13, 2013.

Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti took to Reddit Thursday evening for a tweak on the classic AMA (Ask Me Anything) — he sought ideas from the Reddit community for L.A.’s future.

“This time, we’re doing things a little bit differently by focusing the discussion on solutions rather than Q/A,” Garcetti wrote. “I want your ideas about how to create jobs and solve problems in L.A. neighborhoods.”

Some highlights from Garcetti’s answers are below.

On parking tickets:

Tickets should be used to manage parking, not as a revenue source, and that is what I am going to look to do. Maybe even a discount for paying early? We might get more revenue that way (fewer unpaid tickets) and folks could pay less.

On fighting homelessness:

I campaigned on the idea that we could end chronic homelessness here in Los Angeles. This is possible. We know that permanent supportive housing, a strategy that puts housing and critically-needed services together so that someone has a place to live AND the childcare, job training, substance abuse or mental health counseling that they need to stay off the street. In my district, we also took a second step that I’d like to take citywide. In Hollywood, we have had great success with Hollywood 4WRD, where we didn’t just count the number of homeless people in the neighborhood (as required by law through a homeless census), but we interviewed them individually, got to know their names, their history, and their stories and then we worked to get them off the street one at a time, building hundreds of units of permanent supportive housing and helping case manage the needs of these formerly-homeless people. We have taken 185 people off the street and 180 are still there today, an incredible rate of success. So we know how to do this, it is time to get the job done. Oh yeah—the other good reason to do this is it saves money. Keeping people on the street is very very expensive when they cost everyone hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency room visits, for instance. This is the right thing to do morally and financially.

On marijuana:

I didn't introduce the motion or measures to ... ban dispensaries, I voted to abide with recent court rulings so we could get on the ballot something that would preserve access and help us also get out the bad actors. As a result, I supported (the successful) passage of Measure D to provide safe access and give us some tools to help regulate the number of dispensaries, just as we do with restaurants or coffee houses. And I have consistently said that the federal government needs to reclassify cannabis. And that if the voters of California wanted to legalize recreational use, I would support that.

On bringing high-speed Google Fiber to L.A.:

Yum. Fiber. Seriously — this is critically important. Google probably won't tackle a city as big and spread out as LA initially, but we want to explore with them and other partners what we can do to upgrade our fiber infrastructure. We also have a public utility that we need to look at as well as potentially providing fiber, which some public utilities have done with success. Ultimately, though, tech is a cornerstone of my plans to jumpstart our local economy and having the best fiber infrastructure in the country is critical to attracting and retaining tech companies and communities here.

On the end of the LAPD consent decree:

So it was up to the federal monitor to go to the judge who ultimately ended the consent decree in recognition of the progress that has been made within LAPD. The test is not whether or not mistakes get made by individuals in a 10,000 person department, but how the organization responds, ensuring that both citizen rights and officer rights are addressed fairly and that the culture of the department continues its progress. One piece of accountability very important to me and supported by our officers, too, is in-car video cameras, which we have already rolled out in some parts of the city and we need in all parts. But we have amazing officers who do incredibly difficult work and should be thanked for that. There are always those who will screw this up and everyone needs accountability, but we have had a strong leader in Chief Beck and a department that has shown steady progress forward, even as we acknowledge that there will be mistakes (and sometimes very serious ones) made.

Garcetti even got a little philosophical. On the success of Summer Night Lights: “Sometimes the obvious answer is hibernating in front of us, waiting for Spring to arrive.”

Other topics receiving responses from Garcetti included public transit, solar power, food deserts, education, litter and more. Garcetti dug into the nitty-gritty policy points on several of those issues. You can read the rest of the read here, or see just Garcetti’s most recent posts here. You can also check out highlights from the Reddit AMA from when Garcetti was running for office.

Garcetti closed out his discussion with redditors after about an hour, but said that he would check back in on the thread for more and said that readers could send their ideas to ideas@lacity.org.

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