Mayor Eric Garcetti: Let's Dig In And Take Those Challenges - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Mayor Eric Garcetti: Let's Dig In And Take Those Challenges

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Promising a "back to basics'' attitude, Mayor Eric Garcetti painted a rosy picture of the city's future, vowing to present a balanced budget that eliminates a multimillion-dollar deficit, bolsters public safety and improves neighborhoods.

During his first State of the City address, Garcetti also made bold promises, saying he would not allow any water or electricity increases this year while vowing to begin phasing out the  city's business tax. He also said renovations at Los Angeles International Airport would
"make it a world-class airport once again.''

"Let me be clear -- we're going to bring rail to LAX, and we will settle for nothing less,'' Garcetti said. The mayor also announced that a new carpool lane on the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass would not open in October as planned, but next month.

"We are not a timid, modest city,'' Garcetti said during his roughly 40- minute speech at the California Science Center. "We are Los Angeles. And Los Angeles does big things.'' Garcetti also said he was making improvements in the city's embattled Fire Department, which has been beset by troubles with its recruiting and dispatch systems and reporting of response times.

"I inherited a Fire Department with the best firefighters in the world,'' he said. "But I also inherited a department that was lacking in leadership, that had decades-old technology. ... That's changing on my watch.''

He said that by July 1, all city fire units will be outfitted with GPS tracking devices to ensure the closest units will be dispatched to emergency calls. He also said the city will develop a 911 dispatch center that combines police and fire operations.

"Something most people don't know is that when you call 911, the police department always answers the phone,'' he said. "So if you have a fire or medical emergency you have to get transferred. That costs time, money and even lives.''

The mayor touted his efforts to crack down on the Department of Water and Power and correct troubles that have plagued the utility, such as the recent billing breakdowns that sent customers inflated and inaccurate bills.

"Look, we can't ask you to pay more for your water and power when the DWP screws up your bill,'' he said. "So I will not allow the DWP to raise rates this year. The department must earn back your trust.''

Garcetti is scheduled to introduce his proposed budget on Monday, and he said the spending package will begin cutting down the business tax, which he wants to phase out entirely.

"Our plan will cut the top business tax rate over three years -- the top rate that nearly half of businesses pay,'' he said. Garcetti did not go into any other specifics of his planned budget
proposal, saying only that it would be a balanced budget that would maintain reserve funds.

City officials are projecting a $242 million budget deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

"Since my first day as your mayor, I've been focused on a new approach to governing,'' he said. "It is time for a new mayor to build a modern city government focused on four cornerstones -- a well-run government, a strong economy, a high quality of life and public safety.''

Fun Facts About Mayor Eric Garcetti: (Source: Wikipedia)

1) He is the mayor of Los Angeles and a former member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing the 13th District. He served as Council President from 2006 to 2012.

2) A member of the Democratic Party, Garcetti won in a nonpartisan election for Mayor on May 21, 2013, defeating city Controller Wendy Greuel; Garcetti is the city's first elected Jewish mayor and its youngest in more than a century. Garcetti is the son of the former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti.

3) Prior to his election to the Los Angeles City Council, Garcetti was a visiting instructor of International Affairs at the University of Southern California and assistant professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College.

4) His academic work focused on ethnic conflict and nationalism and he has lived and studied in Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa. He has published articles and chapters of books on post-conflict societies, Eritrean nationalism, and non-violent action. He served on the California Board of Human Rights Watch.

Office Of The Mayor Of Los Angeles: Eric Garcetti Official Website


Read more: http://www.myfoxla.com/story/24759475/mayor-eric-garcetti-the-depth-of-some-of-the-problems-surprised-me#ixzz2yXrjHgfD

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