Making Life Better in L.A.

Community Leaders: Eric Garcetti 

“You can’t look to the stars until you’ve fixed the cracks in the sidewalk,” Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti often says. As the second-term councilmember serving the 13th Council District, Garcetti has shown that a commitment to the street-level health of the community is a necessary first step in creating positive change. Garcetti is arguably the “greenest” government official in LA.

A fourth-generation Angeleno, Eric Garcetti was born at Good Samaritan Hospital and grew up in Los Angeles.  He won a hotly-contested election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001, becoming one of the youngest city councilmembers in the city’s history.

Unanimously elected as Council President in December 2005 and unanimously re-elected in July 2007, Garcetti promotes the work of each of his fourteen colleagues on the City Council. Council President Garcetti chairs the Rules and Elections Committee. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Energy and the Environment Committee and sits on the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee, which he chaired for four and a half years. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc River Committee and the Ad Hoc Homelessness Committee, and serves on the Ad Hoc Stadium Committee. He was unopposed for re-election and began his second term in office in July of 2005.

He led the effort to fund the nation’s largest Affordable Housing Trust Fund, oversaw the economic and cultural revitalization of Hollywood, wrote and championed Proposition O to clean up our local water, won passage of a plan that eliminated the city’s business tax for 60% of all businesses, and helped bring thousands of new high wage jobs to Los Angeles and his district.  In his district, he tackled neighborhoods’ most intractable problems, doubling the number of parks, ensuring the availability of an after-school program in every school in the district, and reducing graffiti by more than 60 percent.

Councilmember Garcetti’s work has been recognized in dozens of awards, including the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for Americans under 40 who are changing their communities with a commitment to public service; the Green Cross Millennium Award from former President Mikhail Gorbachev, for environmental leadership; a “Tiger Award” from the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, for his work on business tax reform; the New Democrat of the Week recognition from the Democratic Leadership Council, for his work on safety in commercial office buildings and security officers’ working conditions; and the first Olson Award from Human Rights Watch for his human rights activism. 

Prior to his election, Garcetti taught public policy, diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College and the University of Southern California. In 1998, the Rockefeller Foundation selected him as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow. Garcetti studied urban planning and political science at Columbia University, where he received his B.A. and M.A. in International Relations. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. He is an avid photographer, jazz pianist and composer. He lives in Echo Park with his partner of twelve years, Amy Elaine Wakeland.

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