On Friday, the Los Angeles Times editorial board ripped into L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on for his reluctance to take a strong stand on…virtually everything.
Calling him “Averse to controversy and hesitant to take sides,” the Times notes that Garcetti has eschewed stating his opinion on Charter Amendments 1 and 2, which would attempt to elicit a greater voter turnout by moving local election dates from March and May of odd-numbered years to June and November of even-numbered years. The new dates would fall in gubernatorial and presidential election years. The Times pointed out that Garcetti told the Los Angeles Daily News that he would not issue an opinion, “Because I can see both sides of the issue.”
The Times responds, “What kind of cop-out is that?”
It continues, “…he has repeatedly punted, rather than confronted, controversial issues. When the City Council overruled the recommendation of Garcetti’s Recreation and Parks Commission and his general manager to give the multimillion-dollar Greek Theatre contract to a new operator, the mayor was silent, not even bothering to defend the department head who works for him.”
That isn’t all; the Times reports that Garcetti would not become involved when the council, forced to find a second opinion about the results of a prospective minimum wage hike, attempted to hire the same economists who gave the first opinion.
A fourth incident the Times uses to make its point: Garcetti (who was elected with strong support from teachers’ unions) has refused to involve himself in guiding education policy in the L.A. Unified School District.
The Times concludes: “L.A. needs a mayor with opinions. Garcetti should be at the forefront of the city’s controversies. He should tell voters what he supports and opposes because his positions and his reasoning are indicative of his priorities and his leadership. It’s time to speak up, Mr. Mayor, and tell the people what you think.”
In 2013, The Times valued Garcetti’s “finesse” as it endorsed him for mayor, writing:
His style as council president was not always satisfying to outside observers, who like to hear leaders talk tough or watch them crack heads. Garcetti used finesse. He knew who he was leading, he knew how to get from them what was needed and he knew how to count votes. He knew how to get the job done, and he did it — or at least as much of it as could be done at the time. Los Angeles will look in vain for its Ed Koch or its Richard Daley, because the job here simply isn’t tailored for that kind of swagger. Successful mayors of Los Angeles — like Tom Bradley — must be experts in the art of finesse. Garcetti is such an expert.