The Los Angeles Times, which endorsed Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti in 2013, has given him an overall grade of “C” for his performance.
In a series giving grades to California’s elected officials, the Times gave Garcetti a C-minus for leadership, a C for effectiveness, a B-plus for vision, a C-plus for transparency, and a D for courage.
The Times stated that it had harbored concerns that Garcetti would “confuse constructive compromise with the path of least resistance.” It concluded: “Our concerns are becoming reality…his inclination to avoid tough or controversial decisions is undermining his ability to address the very serious problems facing the city.”
Which “tough or controversial” decisions has Garcetti failed to make, according to the Times?
- His refusal to hire “nationally recognized experts” to guide him in creating jobs for Los Angelenos, instead using “political allies,” including his “longtime council staffer for the deputy mayor position” and hiring former Councilwoman Jan Perry to lead the Economic and Workforce Development Department. Two years later, unsurprisingly, the mayor has yet to articulate a comprehensive job creation strategy. In addition, he has not eliminated the city’s burdensome business tax, contrary to his campaign promise.
- His failure to restore city services. Garcetti didn’t support a sales tax favored by the Times that would have funded fixing streets and sidewalks.
- His refusal to endorse a raise in rates suggested by the Department of Water and Power to fund infrastructure replacement to save water.
- His failure to tamp down labor and pension expenses.
- His noncommittal stance on the issue of consolidating local elections with state and federal elections.
- His noncommittal stance on giving trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership fast-track approval.
- His refusal to act on a homelessness ordinance.
- His surreptitious exit from his home when protesters demonstrated after the LAPD sot a homeless black man.
- His eschewing of involvement with school district politics and governance.
The Times lauded the mayor for urging the Los Angeles Police Department to give every officer in the field a body camera by mid-2016. Another plus was his help finalizing a deal to build a rail connection to LAX, and a third action drawing the paper’s approval involved his pushing the city council to require the retrofitting of older buildings to withstand earthquakes.
The Times concluded, “Garcetti has a good vision for Los Angeles. But to be a leader, he has to be willing to make hard, unpopular decisions for the greater good of the city….Solving these problems will take political courage and decisiveness, not a finger in the wind.”