One year after taking the oath of office, Mayor Eric Garcetti declined to give himself a letter grade for his performance, saying instead that with crime down and employment up the city of Los Angeles is "headed in the right direction.”
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The mayor took the oath of office one year ago Tuesday. He made the comments on NBC4’s "NewsConference" on Sunday.
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Garcetti listed the billions of dollars in federal grants as part of his achievement in his first year. Money will be used for mass transit, restoration of the Los Angeles River and to bolster the city's manufacturing sector. Garcetti, an early supporter of then Sen. Barack Obama, said his relationship with the president "may have helped," but that the projects were approved on their own merits.
The mayor, who this week becomes the chairman of the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, also cited the number of concurrent rail projects that are taking place, including a downtown street car connecting the Expo Line and the Gold Line, the Crenshaw light-rail line, the extension of the Purple Line down Wilshire Boulevard and new plans for a rail connection to LAX.
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"After 40 years of talking about it, I will deliver that as mayor,” Garcetti said. “The airport will continue to grow, tourists will continue to come and we will finally have a calling card worthy of a great city."
Garcetti says he has been trying to make "City Hall work" for residents of the city, citing a recent program allowing Saturday inspections for homeowners who need projects approved by regulators but who can't afford to take a day off work during the week.
"It's back to basics,” he said. “Let’s be customer friendly, customer focused and then we can tackle the bigger things."
On other issues Garcetti reiterated his support for a second term for Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, said he has no plans on endorsing in the LA County race for supervisor between Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl and he supports a recent Superior Court decision tossing out the current system of teacher tenure and the so called "last hired, first fired" rule in education staffing. Garcetti received the endorsement of the United Teachers of Los Angeles which opposed the court ruling.
"I respectfully disagree with them on this," said Garcetti in the interview, adding that teachers need to be part of the "conversation" on education reform issues.
Garcetti recently drew national attention when he uttered an explicative during a speech commemorating the Los Angeles Kings for their Stanley Cup championship.
"It was a big frigging day," Garcetti said. "Maybe I should have said it that way."