Although like any other politician or public servant, Eric Garcetti has both fans and detractors; I happen to be one of his many admirers. I was first introduced to Eric during the time I served on the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council during its infancy (2003-2005) during which time Eric was an ever-present advocate and supporter of the council both in time and energy. He was born on February 4, 1971, the son of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and Sukey Roth. He graduated from Harvard-Westlake School, later attending Columbia Univesity where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and as a John Jay Scholar. At Columbia, he distinguished himself by serving on the Student Council and as President of the St. Anthony Hall Literary Society, founded the Columbia Urban Experience, and co-wrote and performed in three years of the Varsity Show, a student-written musical. He received a Masters of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University after which he received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. Before his election to the Los Angeles City Council, he was a visiting instructor of International Affairs at the University of Southern California and assistant professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College, focusing on ethnic conflict and nationalism. He was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001 and reelected in 2005 and 2009 and served as President of the Council in 2006, succeeding Alex Padilla, and was re-elected as President at the beginning of the Council’s subsequent terms in 2007 and 2009. During his terms of service, he supported expansion of the Los Angeles Police Department and the implementation of a Senior Lead Officer Program resulting in a 40% drop in the crime rate in the 13th Council District. He also authored legislation for youth intervention and crime prevention programs, founded the “At The Park After Dark”. He also sponsored legislation in support of preserving historic neighborhoods and landmarks, including Historic Filipinotown and the Hollywood Palladium. His volunteer program UNTAG (Uniting Neighborhoods to Abolish Graffiti) has dramatically reduced graffiti in his district and served as a model for other communities.
He set a positive example for his peers by being one of the first elected officials in Los Angeles to meet with stakeholders face-to-face by holding office hours each month and implemented a policy ensuring phone calls be returned within a single day, tracking the details on a computer system.
He was one of the first Los Angeles city officials to endorse Barack Obama, and became Southern California Chairman for his election campaign, serving as a super-delegate during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He is an accomplished jazz pianist and composer and a photographer. He lives with his wife Amy Elaine Wakefield, who he married in 2009. Garcetti was elected Mayor of Los Angeles on May 21, 2013, defeating City Controller Wendy Greuel in a hard-fought election. He currently lives in Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles in Hancock Park. He is the city’s youngest mayor in more than a century and the first elected Jewish mayor.