by Joe Shea
American Reporter Editor-in-Chief
April 25, 2011
Eric Garcetti for Mayor of Los Angeles
In perhaps my most impassioned speech to the Los Angeles City Council, Eric Garcetti sat as President of the 14-member body. I was speaking on a foolish proposal to require police to continue answering false alarms in very affluent neighborhoods where they constituted more than 90 percent of all the calls for help to the city's overburdened 911 syatem.
The council hearing chamber was absolutely packed with supporters of the ordinance, which had been introduced by a devotee of the security agencies that sell the alarms wealthier residents were buying. I said that the ordinance would create two cities, one that was protected by law enforcement and another that saw resources unnecessarily drained away from them to serve wealthier neighborhoods that can afford alarms.
The speech hit a nerve, and councilmembers grew uneasy as I passed the three-minute limitation and kept taslking. I had been gaveled down at that point many times in earlier talks, but this time Eric Garcetti, after striking the gavel, permitted a valuable insight to be completed.
My picture and comments appeared in a front page story the next day in the Los Angeles Times, and the following day the New York Times posted a correction to their front-page story noting that its reporter had failed to notice my lone opposition. The council tabled the ordinance and then worked to revise it.
I pointed out at the time that I believed Council President Garcetti opposed the measure, and he did. It was just another instance of times when he has weighed in on the side of right and justice against well-monied interests and prevailed when others faltered and fell.
Today, The American Reporter endorses Eric Garcetti with great enthusiasm, not just because he stood with us on that critical day but because he stood with the great majority of the people of Los Angeles. We believe that through his mayoralty, that will always be true.
As one of the three councilmembers that served contiguous blocks of central Hollywood, where The American Reporter began in 1995, it was our pleasure to have frequent interactions with Garcetti's office, mostly over crime, alcoholic beverage licenses and clean-up issues. Like his compatriot Tom LaBonge and fellow Democrat Jackie Goldberg, Eric was assiduous, diligent and dedicated to bringing about what is now known as the Hollywood Renaissance.
Under these three, Hollywood went from a place where more than 60 murders occurred in one year and Times staff writer Josh Meyer, later national security reporter in its Washington bureau, wrote that violence and gunplay were "out of control" - quoting a harried Hollywood LAPD watch commander - to a place where on our very own block a new development valued at more than $1 billion is getting set to break ground.
Hollywood went from a place where a seedy bar scene invited drug dealers by the dozens and the gang violence that went with it to an absolutely thriving nightlife destination where every legitimate form of entertainment is there for the asking. Their work transformed Hollywood Blvd. from a place where I once witnessed and reported an SUV carjacking in progress at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. to a place where the Academy Awards and star-struck thousands descend on the night of the Oscars - on the same corner.
Many were responsible for various parts of that magnificent achievement, and I was proud to be one. And I know that through it all, as our central Hollywood counciman, Eric Garcetti was leading the way and fighting the good fight for our efforts. If for no other reason than the vast boom in sales and use and excise taxes he has helped create for a budget-hungry Los Angeles, LA county and the State of California, he deserves to become Mayor of the City of Angels.
We proudly salute and endorse Councilman Garcetti in his upcoming May 21, 2013, primary runoff - tantamount to election - with councilwoman Wendy Gruel, and wish him the best in leading a city that been ably served by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa into a brighter future that will illuminate its star in every corner of the globe.
Resources: Los Angeles Times Joe Shea led the Ivar Hill Community Assn. and the Ivar Hawks Neighborhood Watch from 1991 to 2003. He was a 2001 candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles.