Los Angeles mayor-elect Eric Garcetti wore his Navy whites to a Memorial Day ceremony Monday in Boyle Heights. Garcetti, as you should know by now, is a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve. One of the things to watch in the first year of the new administration at City Hall is how will Garcetti and the Navy get along once he is mayor. "In past years, he has been gone for two weeks at a time to fulfill his duty, but he is trying to determine what can be done to balance that with his mayoral duties," Rick Orlov reported Monday in his Daily News Tipoff column. "And if he does have to go off for a couple of weeks, does his security force go with him?" As of the day after the election, Garcetti picked up an LAPD protective detail and is driven around in a dark Chevy Suburban SUV.
Also this: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was at Oxford in the early 1990s when he met Eric Garcetti, a young Jewish Rhodes Scholar from Los Angeles. They became close friends, and an incident one night in 1995 "defined his character for me in a moment of terrible tragedy for one of our students," the rabbi writes at the Huffington Post. It involves a student who lost her father in an accident and the empathy shown by Garcetti. Writes Boteach:
Here was an interaction that has lingered in my mind and that I will never forget. Eric looked right at Jordana and, in the softest gentlest words, said to her, "I am so sorry for your pain. I'm heartbroken to hear the news. Please tell me if there is anything I can do." His face was contorted in agony. He spent the next few minutes speaking with her. It was not what he said but the way he said it. He spoke with extreme empathy and understanding. It is quite remarkable that nearly 20 years later I can remember the scene so vividly. What I saw was genuine human compassion for the plight of a complete stranger. I remember thinking to myself that here was a young man with a soft and special heart, that he had the ability to connect genuinely and compassionately with those who were suffering.
And finally: Garcetti told a Univision interviewer over the weekend that if the voters of California decided to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, he would have no problem with that.