LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky might be the mayor-elect of Los Angeles today if he had decided last year (or sooner) that he was up for a run. He will be termed out of his seat on the Board of Supervisors in 2014, but he opted last August not to continue his long elected career. He told Los Angeles Magazine today that he's going to see his granddaughter this weekend and doubts he could have done so if he had just finished a campaign for mayor. "I'm very sanguine and happy about my decision," he tells Shayna Rose Arnold. "It was carefully thought out and I did what I thought was best for myself and I have confidence that the new leadership of the city is up to the task."
Yaroslavsky, who took no public position on the race before the election, praised the election of Eric Garcetti, along with Mike Feuer as city attorney and Ron Galperin as city controller. "I think the election signals a new generation of leadership for the city. Eric's election and Feuer and Galperin's elections represent a group of smart, public policy people, and it bodes well for the city." He also says there is a message in the results about the influence of the DWP union, which put several million into an independent campaign for Wendy Greuel and in the end may have cost her the election. The union's outsized role and coverage of the DWP's high salaries turned her image from that of a fiscal watchdog, and Garcetti ads hammered on her as "the DWP mayor." A Garcetti strategist told me today the DWP issue always polled strongly as a negative for Greuel.
Yaroslavsky framed Garcetti's first big jobs as mayor:
Eric has two immediate challenges to face. One is to put his administration together. My advice there is, in the words of John Wooden, "be quick but don't hurry." He needs to get the right people in there and not rush to the point where he gets the wrong people and has to make changes. Everybody has that experience. I had it over the years, Villaraigosa had it, Bradley had it—everyone does. He should cast his net broadly for competent people, people who will give him unvarnished advice so he can make up his mind....
On the policy side, his first challenge is to get the city's finances in order, to deal with the transportation issues that are quite timely right now. He'll have to hit the ground running with the MTA. And he's got to deal with the salary obligations that the current contracts with the employee unions require.
The Los Angeles piece also talks to City Council President Herb Wesson and lameduck council member Jan Perry. Check out their thoughts at the magazine's website. Also there, writer Ed Leibowitz imagines the magazine's 2017 endorsement for Garcetti's second term.