USA POLITICS: Eric Garcetti Biography
Introduction: Eric Michael Garcetti (born February 4, 1971) is an American municipal politician. He is a member of the Los Angeles City Council. He is the son of the former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Garcetti was born in Los Angeles. His father is Italian and Mexican descent and his mother, Sukey Roth, is Russian Jewish descent. Garcetti attended elementary school at the UCLA Lab School (formerly Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School), junior high and high school at Harvard-Westlake School and received a B.A. from Columbia University as a John Jay Scholar. At Columbia, he served on the Student Council, was President of the St. Anthony Hall literary society, founded the Columbia Urban Experience, and co-wrote and performed in three years of the Varsity Show, a student-written musical, whose past co-writers include Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Lorenz Hart. Garcetti also received a Masters of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and also studied at the London School of Economics.
Prior to his election to the Los Angeles City Council, Garcetti was a visiting instructor of International Affairs at the University of Southern California and assistant professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College. His academic work focused on ethnic conflict and nationalism and he has lived and studied in Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa. He has published articles and chapters of books on post-conflict societies, Eritrean nationalism, and non-violent action. Garcetti has also served on the California Board of Human Rights Watch.
Garcetti was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001 and reelected in 2005 and 2009.
He succeeded Alex Padilla as President of the City Council on January 1, 2006 and was re-elected as President at the beginning of the Council’s subsequent terms in 2007 and 2009. As the President, Garcetti is the acting mayor when the mayor is out of state, appoints the Assistant President Pro Tempore, makes committee assignments for his colleagues on the Council, and leads all City Council meetings.
As a City Councilmember, he has especially focused on issues of housing and economic development, the environment, public safety, community engagement, neighborhood beautification, and international diplomacy.
Garcetti supported recent expansions of the Los Angeles Police Department and the re-implementation of the Senior Lead Officer Program. Crime has fallen in his district by more than forty percent since 2001.
He also authored legislation requiring increases in funding for youth intervention and crime prevention programs whenever there is additional spending on police hiring. Garcetti founded the At The Park After Dark program which keeps parks open late at night in the summer months. The program was a model for the Summer Night Lights program, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s successful anti-gang program.
In 2004, Garcetti authored Proposition O, a county stormwater bond which sought to clean the city’s waterways. Voters approved the bond with just over 76% of the vote making it the largest clean water bond in the country.
During his decade on the City Council the number of parks in his district has doubled.
In 2005, Garcetti helped found the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. He also authored two of the nation’s largest municipal green building ordinances, the first requiring all city buildings to be built to the LEED-certified standard, and the second which mandates all commercial buildings over . in Los Angeles be built to a LEED standard. Garcetti also supported changes in the city’s landscape ordinance and plumbing codes to promote water conservation.
In July 2009, the City Council passed a water conservation ordinance he authored, which required all new construction and renovation projects in Los Angeles to be equipped with high-efficiency water devices and aims to conserve one billion gallons of water a year. A longtime electric car driver, he appeared as a proponent of electric cars in the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”
Garcetti has traveled to El Salvador, Armenia and Lebanon to initiate Sister City programs with Los Angeles. He was also part of the delegations on Los Angeles trade missions to trading partners Mexico, South Korea, China, Japan, and throughout Europe.
Housing and Neighborhood Beautification
At times, Garcetti has come under public scrutiny for letting large scale developments demolish and build over cultural, and historic landmarks. The most recent example are three small buildings at historic Sunset Junction which were demolished to make way for a large condominium development. A developer had previously said there was no talk of demolition. However, the Department of Building and Safety granted the company a permit for demolition nearly a month and a half before it happened.
In his district, Garcetti created the Neighborhood Leadership Institute which trains constituents to be active citizens. He has used the idea of engaging citizens to increase neighborhood beautification.
Garcetti’s volunteer UNTAG program, Uniting Neighborhoods to Abolish Graffiti, has reduced graffiti in his district over 78 percent in its first four years.
During his first term, as chair and member of the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee, he helped create a 100 million dollar housing trust fund, at the time, the nation’s largest. He has also worked to revitalize the Hollywood area and reduce and reform the city business tax.
Garcetti was one of the first elected officials in Los Angeles to hold “office hours” each month, where constituents can meet with him face-to-face. He implemented a “Constituent Bill of Rights” that ensures that constituents’ phone calls are returned within a single workday, that constituents are included in all land-use decisions in their neighborhood, and that all constituent concerns are tracked on a computer system that details all actions taken on that particular case.
He has drawn respect as President by ensuring that the meetings start on time, adding cushions to the pews in council chambers, making all past meetings available on-line, implementing a Council Ambassadors Program, and controlling the timing of public comment and council presentations at meetings. He has also helped more than 1500 local constituents learn about the governmental process by hosting Government and Planning 101 courses throughout the city.
2008 Presidential election
Garcetti endorsed Barack Obama in early Spring 2007 and was the Southern California Chairman and one of six state co-chairs for the Obama Campaign. He traveled to Iowa, Nevada and six other states, and was a frequent surrogate (in English and Spanish) for the campaign. He served as a superdelegate during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and was elected to serve as the Chair of Democratic Municipal Officials, an organization affiliated with the Democratic National Committee that represents all local elected Democrats in the U.S. In this capacity, he serves on the DNC Executive Committee.
There had been speculation that Congressman Xavier Becerra was to be appointed to serve in the Obama administration as the United States Trade Representative. Garcetti, whose district overlaps Becerra’s, was mentioned as a possible front-runner for the congressional seat. However, Becerra indicated that he would not accept the position in Obama’s cabinet. Garcetti declared his candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles on September 8, 2011.
Garcetti is an avid photographer, jazz pianist and composer. He lives in Echo Park with his wife Amy Elaine Wakeland. He also serves in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant in the reserve component.
– Eric Garcetti Biography (Eric Biography)