Mayoral Candidate Survey: Eric Garcetti

Garcetti closes the deal with one of the Real Rydazz at CicLAvia. For more pics of Eric at CicLAvia to the Sea, visit Marta Every's Facebook Page

Following our Mayoral Candidate Video Series in March and February, some Streetsbloggers complained that the answers from leading candidates Council Member Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel were, well, they were awfully similar. In an effort to get some more specific answers, we asked both candidates to answer a series of questions that were quite a bit different than the ones we asked in the video series.

Garcetti’s campaign was the first to respond, and their answers can be found after the jump. Personally, he seemed to avoid getting too specific, in some cases he answers the question he would like us to have asked and not the one we asked, but there’s still more we can learn about the candidate. In some cases, his answers show a knowledge of City Hall and internal politics if you know how to read them. For example:

I would like to see my General Manager be someone who understands the full breadth of transportation options we must pursue, from rail to bus to bike to taxis to improved pedestrian options. I want someone who understands how to integrate our transportation options and transit system so that people have various “door-­‐to-­‐door” options that get them where they need to go and reduce traffic. I want a GM who views their work not in a departmental vacuum, but understanding how DOT affects our overall quality of life, our neighborhoods, our economy, our air quality, etc.

The biggest complaint many have with LADOT is that the agency often seems to be bullish pushing a “design and defend” philosophy for transportation projects rather than trying to create an integrated transportation system. While that is certainly less true today than ever, witness the punishment LADOT Bikeways undergoes every time they do a Bike Plan meeting in an area outside of South L.A., it’s a hard reputation for the department to shake.


Our candidate interview video from February.

1) Give a letter-­‐grade to Jaime De La Vega as General Manager of LADOT. What qualities does he possess that you might look for in a new General Manager? Do you have any ideas who you might ask to replace him, if you’re planning on replacing him?

I will require every department head to reapply for his or her job so that the city’s departments and their managers are aligned with my focus creating jobs and solving problems for L.A. residents. In terms of the Department of Transportation, I would like to see my General Manager be someone who understands the full breadth of transportation options we must pursue, from rail to bus to bike to taxis to improved pedestrian options. I want someone who understands how to integrate our transportation options and transit system so that people have various “door-­‐to-­‐door” options that get them where they need to go and reduce traffic. I want a GM who views their work not in a departmental vacuum, but understanding how DOT affects our overall quality of life, our neighborhoods, our economy, our air quality, etc.

2) Mayor Villaraigosa has made several appointments to the Metro Board of Directors: Council Members Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks and Tom LaBonge, Richard Katz, Mel Wilson, and David Fleming to name a few. Without committing to an appointment, which of these people possess the qualities you are most looking for in a Metro Board appointment. Why?

I will appoint Board members who are efficient with funding so that we can maximize the amount of transit L.A. offers and who can accelerate the pace at which it is built. Of key importance are people who understand the need to integrate our various bus and transit lines so that more people can truly get from point a to point b without long drives or walks from home or work to a transit stop. I want appointees focused on predictability and reliability, which helps transit users plan and encourages more people to use transit. I want appointees who understand how to incorporate transit into communities in ways that improve the surrounding neighborhoods.

3) Now that the city is progressing on the bicycle plan and has hired two pedestrian coordinators, how can the city fund pedestrian improvements in the same exciting fashion as it is bicycle improvements?

I am proud of my record on making L.A. more bicycle-­‐friendly. I installed the city’s first sharrows in my district, and now these safety markings are citywide and are a key part of the recently adopted bicycle plan. I played a key role in launching CicLAvia and in installing the first showers and bicycle lockers at City Hall to promote bicycle commuting. I will use this same type of leadership in order to make critical pedestrian improvements. As Councilmember, I led the way to establishing the city’s first Pedestrian Coordinator at the Department of Transportation, which has led to an unprecedented focus on pedestrian issues that are based on innovation, metric based planning, and results. I will make sure the City prioritizes to better align funding based on how people are actually getting around. I will work to prioritize critical pedestrian projects and then fight to increase the share of pedestrian funding that comes through Metro.

4) Give an example of a specific project in transportation, public health, urban planning, or open space that you would advance your first year in office.

We need to look at creating a comprehensive transit network that includes rail and buses, that is connected by neighborhood connectors and has a strong infrastructure for biking and walking. I will continue to accelerate badly-­‐needed rail lines (and where appropriate, busways), since these projects have the best shot at reducing traffic throughout our city. We need to finish the Expo Line to Santa Monica, link LAX to the Green Line, build the Crenshaw Line in South Los Angeles, get a North-­‐South line in the San Fernando Valley that traverses the Sepulveda Pass, and it is critical to get the Wilshire subway to the Westside. I would also make sure that the system is on-­‐time, predictable, and easy to navigate. The city has an incredible amount of transportation data and we can use this to make our city’s transportation system more flexible and change to the city’s demands.

5) Feel free to tell us anything you want. There is no maximum or minimum amount of words for this part.

I am the City Councilmember representing L.A.’s 13th District and Chair of the Council Jobs and Business Development Committee. I’m proud of the proven results I’ve delivered, from helping lead the dramatic turnarounds in neighborhoods like Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake and Atwater Village; tripling the number of parks in my district from 16 to 47; and seeing my district named number one in job growth by the L.A. chamber of commerce. As Mayor, I will get City Hall back to basics, focusing on creating jobs and problem solving for L.A. residents.