Eric Garcetti's 'Vision' for Los Angeles
“We have what other cities would die to have: This diversity, this creativity, this geographic position. Let us now think big and deliver big,” LA City Councilmember Eric Garcetti said to a group of 50 API community leaders at Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment’s (CAUSE) second ‘Visions for LA’ event held in Chinatown on Thursday, March 15th.
Part of Garcetti’s “think big, deliver big” plan for Los Angeles is to “stitch a new fabric” of the city, emphasizing that the Asian American community was an integral “thread” in the City’s makeup. He continued by saying that this new fabric would embrace cultural diversity, connecting all ethnicities that inhabit the City, to create a civic culture where all voices are heard.
“We don’t have that same civic culture that New York or Chicago has, but it’s time for a leader who does bring us together and figures out a way to make that happen,” said Garcetti, 2012 Mayoral Candidate.
Garcetti also outlined his mayoral campaign, focusing on three core aspects: solving the City’s economic challenges through the use of practical solutions like structural pension reforms, creating responsible budgeting that protects core city services, and making key investments to ensure that neighborhoods become stronger, safer, and attractive to jobs and businesses.
In addition, Garcetti said that his desire to run for mayor stemmed from his experiences serving County District 13 (CD-13) for the past 11 years. His district encompasses Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Glassell Park, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Little Armenia, Silver Lake, and Thai Town. It is within these cities that Garcetti became immersed in ethnic diversity, traversing through the neighborhoods of his constituents to listen to their stories.
“[While serving as a City Councilmember] I’ve never lost that connection [with my constituents]… and the understanding that you’re only good as what you’ve done next,” Garcetti said.
Most recently, Garcetti’s district was a concern for the Korean American community who fought to have Koreatown placed within CD-13. They wanted to create a more powerful presence of Asian Americans by housing Koreatown, Filipinotown, and Thai Town under one district. Despite their efforts, on March 16th the LA City Council approved the controversial new district lines, pushing Koreatown to Herb Wesson’s County District 10.
Garcetti said that he has kept an open dialogue with the Korean community during their fight for stronger representation.
“I know there’s a lot of focus on the Korean American community, we’ve been engaging a lot on redistricting,” said Garcetti. “I wanted to make sure from the beginning it wasn’t just a conversation after things heated up, but one from the very beginning.”
Fighting hard for the inclusion of the Asian American community, Garcetti said that his “cultural fluency” of the City that he has gained over the years has helped him realize that there is a need for members of the City’s government to be reflective of its constituents. According to Garcetti, diversity among the City’s leaders is necessary in order to preserve the “stories” that make up the City.
“I hope to work with you, to tell the stories of Los Angeles – your stories. And I’m looking for your support, not just to elect me as mayor, I want your support to govern this city, to be the folks who run for office and are part of my City Council when I’m mayor, to be the folks who are in staff at the mayor’s office,” Garcetti said.