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Monday, July 1, 2013

Eric Garcetti Takes Over As L.A.’s New Mayor

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks in front of city hall after being sworn in, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks in front of city hall after being sworn in, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Los Angeles’ recovery goes slowly. The unemployment rate is over 10 percent, and residents remain frustrated by traffic jams, substandard schools, costly housing and the backlog of unrepaired streets, according to a new USC Price/Los Angeles Times poll.

According to the same poll, a majority of Los Angeles residents are optimistic about the city’s future under the leadership of the newly-elected mayor, who starts his first day on the job Monday.

Eric Garcetti, 42, was the councilman from Silver Lake, and is the youngest mayor of Los Angeles in more than a century.

Interview Highlights: Eric Garcetti

Is Los Angeles a divided city?

“We are a city of contrasts. We do have immense wealth and we have big pockets of poverty.”

“I’ve always found that what you have to do is find common projects to work on together: building a park, getting a gang out of a neighborhood, helping small businesses owners get up and running. Then you learn about each others’ cultures as a by-product. But I think we are past the ‘Can’t we all just get along together,’ phase that Rodney King called for 20 years ago. We’re onto working for common projects.”

“More and more, I think this is an incredibly mixed and integrated city. We need each other. We’re realizing that. And I think we want to not just be a big city, but we want to be a great city once again.”

Los Angeles’ economic future

“For me, it’s really important that we focus on making L.A. a business friendly place again, focusing on those key industries. And a lot of people don’t realize how strong our economy really is. Our port is the number one port in America … the number one tourist destination. It’s still the manufacturing capital of America, which a lot of people don’t realize.”

“We’re in a competitive environment, and Los Angeles won’t sell itself, despite Hollywood, despite our weather, despite the beaches and the ocean. I want people to know that they can count on a city government that wants them to be here, that will be responsive to them.”

Guest:


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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