POLITICS: Eric Garcetti’s mayoralty begins with warm reception despite hands-off approach
by Jordan Utley-Thomson, Staff Writer
Just more than 80 years ago, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt undertook an ambitious first 100 days with his New Deal that has since formed a template for all government executives upon their swearing in.
Polls show that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has received high marks three months into the job, albeit without major influence over legislation.
“[These are] early days for Garcetti, so it’s hard to gauge his achievement,” said political science instructor Anthony O’Regan. “His tone and style has been that of . . . a technocratic liberal—one who embraces the political liberalism and diversity of the city and seeks to achieve policy solutions based upon data and extensive study.”
A survey conducted with 501 registered voters by the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles marked Garcetti’s approval rating at 56 percent. The same survey, however, noted that voters are still getting to know the new mayor, while a third of voters said that they are uncertain of their opinion.
Garcetti’s approach to governing Los Angeles is more similar to Calvin Coolidge than Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This is a divergence from the city’s former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose personality included a hands-on approach. The former mayor began his mayoralty with numerous travels to Washington, D.C. seeking funds for a promised Westside subway. In contrast, Garcetti remains local, beginning his term focusing on more than 30 departments that power Los Angeles.
However, the mayor is aware about a longing from the electorate for grander policy action. On day 102, Garcetti issued an executive directive known as the Great Streets Initiative; a plan meant to increase economic activity, boost mobility, encourage environmental friendliness and strengthen communities by coordinating street projects efficiently.
With the Great Streets Initiative, officials from eight city agencies will seek out streets that require improvements. Some of these improvements include sidewalk repairs, frequent police patrols, new medians and more bus stops. The only thing that remains unclear is what the budget will be in an era of chronic cuts.
“I remain cautiously optimistic about [Garcetti’s] effectiveness and leadership,” said English instructor Rod Moore. “I’m always very wary of our local [politicians] and their intimate relations with big developers and big campaign contributors, but Garcetti has shown some good sense so far.”