LA's New Mayor, Eric Garcetti, Sworn During “Party in the Park”

Garcetti becomes the city's new top elected leader after an oath of office delivered by eighth-grader Kenia Castillo

Eric Garcetti addressed Los Angeles during his ceremonial swearing-in Sunday evening as the city's 42nd mayor, focusing the bulk of his speech on a campaign promise to make Los Angeles more business friendly.

He said that as mayor, he will also be "L.A.'s salesman-in-chief."

"We have to start with the most basic task of all, though: Hanging a bright neon sign on our city that says Los Angeles is open for business," he said. "We need to market L.A. aggressively and creatively as the gateway to the Pacific Rim."

He said he wants to pare down regulations and taxes that are unattractive to business. He said that he had an answer for any who would argue that tax cuts could be too expensive for the city: "I say losing jobs and bizs and all of their taxes is even more expensive."

The swearing-in portion of the inauguration also included the ceremonial swearing-in of Ron Galperin as controller, Mike Feuer as city attorney and eight members of the City Council, including six newcomers.

The party portion of the event ran from 7 to 10 p.m. in the adjacent Grand Park, which opened last year.

Kenia Castillo, an eighth-grader at Luther Burbank Magnet Middle School in Highland Park who lives in the Westlake district, administered the oath of office to Garcetti. Kenia first met Garcetti was she was 4 years old and he attended an event in support of better working conditions for janitors like her mother.

Kenia and her mother were reunited with Garcetti during the mayoral campaign at an event he attended with janitors. Kenia came up to him and said that because he was there for her family when they needed help she would help him and became a campaign volunteer.

The Naval Operation Support Center Los Angeles Navy Color Guard will present the colors. Garcetti is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

The pledge of allegiance will be led by Lily Newman, a fifth-grader at Porter Ranch Community School, who met Garcetti when he visited her class.

Garcetti later visited Porter Ranch for a community meeting and was greeted by Lily, who was holding a jar of change she collected from her friends to support his campaign.

The invocation was given by Rabbi Susan Goldberg of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Garcetti is Los Angeles' first elected Jewish mayor.

Garcetti was introduced by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

Garcetti was formally sworn into office Friday by City Clerk June Lagmay. He will officially become mayor at midnight.

Villaraigosa has vowed that he will work until the last second tonight. He said in a radio interview Friday that he plans to drink a glass of wine with Garcetti as the clock strikes midnight. An aide said he did not know Garcetti's late-night plans for tonight.

Garcetti will spend part of Monday holding "office hours'' to meet with people randomly selected from emails sent to his transition team specifically requesting an audience with him, spokesman Yusef Robb said.

Garcetti has remained coy about major initiatives he hopes to undertake as mayor. He has said he will put more emphasis on job creation, focus on making City Hall more accessible to a wider swath of residents and improve city government's "customer service'' for the public.

A number of issues wait in the wings for Garcetti, including a projected budget deficit for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins Monday, the privatization and potential upgrades to the Los Angeles Convention Center and at least two large development projects at so-called "transit hubs'' adjacent to light rail and subway stations.

Garcetti will also be faced with resolving a standoff between the city and Ontario over ownership of LA/Ontario International Airport -- which Los Angeles owns -- and overseeing the final phases of renovations at Los Angeles International Airport, including a hotly contested runway widening in the north airfield.

Because of his 12 years on the City Council, Garcetti will "have the advantage of a head start'' when he assumes office Monday, as well as the added benefit of "direct authority'' over city departments, Robb said.

Unlike previous mayors, Garcetti plans to take a serious look at the people who head city departments and agencies, having required all general managers and chiefs to re-apply for their jobs, Robb said.

Garcetti has appointed just one member of his administration, Ana Guerrero, who will be his chief of staff, the same role she had when Garcetti was a councilman.

A couple thousand applications have been received for staff and city commission positions, Robb said. Garcetti does not want to rush the hiring process, which may include some nationwide searches.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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