Why I Am Voting for Eric Garcetti

(Note: To help Streetsblog readers decide how best to cast their vote in the election, we asked two regular writers not on staff to write their recommendations in the election. Today, current Board Member and 2009 Streetsie Writer of the Year Joel Epstein takes his turn writing about his support for Eric Garcetti. Yesterday, Founding Board Member Emeritus and our 2011 Streetsie Writer of the Year Dana Gabbard wrote about his decision to back Wendy Greuel. )

LA’s governance structure makes it sometimes difficult to know who runs the public side of things around here. Is it the County Board of Supervisors or does power rest with the City Council or the Mayor? And what about agencies like the LADWP and public employee unions so large that at election time they make the Koch brothers shudder?

LA’s next mayor has his work cut out for him. I say “he” because, LA’s next mayor should be Eric Garcetti.

LA needs Eric because our next mayor will face a still failing education system, limp job growth, inadequate public transit, a daunting homeless problem, inadequate affordable housing, baroque business regulations and a fouled environment. And, he will have to lead a public soured on government and smarting from Metro’s breakdown on the 405. Guess who pays when projects like this fall years behind schedule and are fumbled.

How do the candidates differ? Here is what Eric and Wendy said about a Crenshaw Line station at Leimert Park in South LA.

Eric: “As mayor, I will continue to aggressively fight for the rail stop in Leimert Park to improve safety, create jobs, boost local businesses and provide better access to a transportation option that will help South LA residents get where they need to go without a car, which will reduce congestion and pollution for us all.”

Wendy: “As soon as possible upon taking office as mayor [I commit to directing] staff to review the design options in the [Environmental Impact Report/Statement] as well as funding opportunities for underground portions of Crenshaw Blvd between 48th and 59th streets.”

Further review? Review and lawsuits are what Beverly Hills and Cheviot Hills NIMBYs threw in the path of the trains?

Eric does. Wendy reviews.

Eric has finished his homework on issues of critical importance to Los Angeles and has earned our vote through his leadership on the Council and service to Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Atwater Village. One sees this in Sunset Triangle Plaza and in his unflinching support for transit and sensible density around the Metro Red Line. And, it is a two way (complete) street. The people of LA deserve a mayor who has earned the admiration of residents and job-creating business owners.

Eric is not beholden to an industry, union or neighborhood. He will be a mayor whose intellect and focus match his energy and enthusiasm for the city.

Eric will back CicLAvia’s expansion because he gets the opportunity events like the gigante block party present for LA. He will look to LAUSD’s countless playgrounds in park-starved communities for safe places for kids to play afterhours the way they do in schoolyards elsewhere.

Eric’s election will bring more rapid buses, rail and bike lanes. He backs the goals of CicLAvia, Los Angeles Walks and Streetsblog Los Angeles to make LA a more livable city blessed with complete streets and human scale transit-oriented development.

LA deserves Eric. Vote!

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