Eric Garcetti has made official what he told me he'd do a month ago, at a garden party in former councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski's digs in Brentwood. "Yes, I'll be running for mayor," he said to me as I sipped a mojito in a yard-full of politicos, City Hall types and statuary.
Garcetti , in glaringly white tennie-shoes, sipped a soft-drink under the watchful eye of his PR minder Julie Wong (who will surely vouch for me on her boss' statement). The council president sounded almost sheepish about his quest. Why I couldn't figure out.
Only moments earlier I'd asked the same question of Zev Yaroslavsky. I was sipping a mojito - maybe a different one - when I approached Zev, slightly off-putting in his Peter "Easy Rider" Fonda sunglasses with eerie reflective lens. His answer: the veteran member of the Board of Supervisors told me he'd be deciding within the next month if he'd run or not for mayor. His biggest asset, Yaroslavsky said: he's demonstrated adult leadership. Look at the county, he said. Unlike the city, it has not been hit hard by budget cuts thanks to the supervisor's thoughtful fiscal management. Boom. That's the ticket. But ditch the sunglasses, Zev.
BTW: We're in September now, Zev. So what's your final answer? Okay, September is still young, and possibly the supervisor is distracted by his clash with his colleague, supervisor Gloria Molina, over her redistricting plan to turn his 3rd district into the board's second majority-Latino district. That was the subject of lengthy hearing only this week (hundreds of citizens at an event covered by no TV cameras and by a handful of dazed print reporters). Yaroslavsky's camp says he's done wonders for the Latino community, that Tuesday's redistricting hearing - despite some media accounts to the contrary - contained a number of Latino speakers who praised Yaroslavsky's stewardship of the 3rd district and urged the board to leave Yaroslavsky and the 3rd alone - except for a tweak or two to the boundaries.
Also cruising Cindy's garden party - Wendy Greuel, the city controller and by some accounts a very formidable force in the mayor's race. Missing from that sun-dappled assemblage of political heavyweights - Councilwoman Jan Perry, the 3rd candidate for the mayor's job... the 4th being business guru Austin Beutner, who headed up the blue-ribbon panel that blessed the NFL stadium deal with AEG.
Questions for Garcetti: How will campaign "history" - as written by his opponents - treat his handling of the DWP rate hike in 2010? Also, speaking of DWP, Garcetti was pushing for creation of a ratepayer advocate whose job would be to review DWP rate hike proposals. But that position has not been filled - what's happening with that, Eric?
And what about Garcetti's positions on Mayor Villaraigosa's ticket-gate scandal and the reforms, still simmering in the City Ethics Commission pot, that would basically bar elected officials from accepting gifts of any value from folks doing business with the city. As the council's leader what's he done to get the gift-reform out of the Ethics Commission and on to the City Council floor where it must win approval to be enacted? And rent control?
Also, how does a progressive Democrat like Garcetti keep his cred with low-income renters when he, unexpectedly, voted to table a plan by rent control advocates to tighten the screws on landlords (this council decision, you will recall, actually set off a mini-riot in the council chambers, also in 2010).
Being youthful (40) and hip (he's Holywood's councilman, after all), can we expect to see photos of Garcetti on the campaign trail wearing one of those ubiquitous short-brimmed fedoras?
Edited for typos