Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Eric Garcetti's first priority as mayor: Rebuild LA's middle class

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti addresses supporters and reporters in Echo Park Wednesday.
Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti addresses supporters and reporters in Echo Park Wednesday.
Alice Walton/KPCC
Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti addresses supporters and reporters in Echo Park Wednesday.
Reporters and photographers descended on Echo Park Wednesday as Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti gave his first availability since Tuesday's victory.
Alice Walton/KPCC

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. 

"I have [had] a lot of campaigns in my life and I’ve always known enthusiasm — real grassroots enthusiasm — trumps money, trumps endorsements, trumps everything," Garcetti said. 

But that doesn't mean labor will necessarily be on the outs with the Garcetti Administration. The councilman told reporters he supports the scheduled 5.5 percent raises for city workers, which is up for a city council vote Thursday. 

"These are raises that were legally negotiated, pushed off to save money during the recession and are legally due," Garcetti said. "So the only vote tomorrow is which account it’s going to come from. I think if you have a bill that’s legally due, you better have it in an account that you can pay out of."

At the same time, Garcetti wants current employees to pay 10 percent toward their health care. Right now, some employees do not pay anything toward their benefits. The mayor-elect said again that his first priority as mayor will be to create jobs and rebuild the middle class of Los Angeles.

Over the next six weeks, Garcetti will set up a transitional office and name key members of his administration. After July 1, he'll make general managers reapply for their jobs. He indicated that some GMs would be let go, though he did not specify in which departments. 

Also at Wednesday's news conference, Garcetti's entourage had a few new members — LAPD officers who will serve as his security detail for the next four years. As for the mayor's official residence at Getty House, it's unclear whether Garcetti, wife Amy Wakeland and 16-month-old daughter Maya,  will leave their Silver Lake home for the Hancock Park house.