It's time for Angelenos to go to the polls and cast their votes for a new mayor. But recent surveys are showing that going to the polls is what many of us aren't planning to do. This means the small percentage of us who do vote will decide the fate of our city, which is currently facing big challenges, as well as big opportunities, in the upcoming years.
I will acknowledge that I decided last summer which mayoral candidate I would support. My friend Daphne Brogdon and her husband, Mark Peel, owner and executive chef at Champanile invited a group of prominent LA-mommy bloggers to a meet and greet with Eric Garcetti. There were about thirty of us in attendance representing many voting districts in Los Angeles.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, I'm familiar with the Garcetti name and the work of the candidate's father. As a politically active mom, I really wanted to hear his views with my own ears and draw my own conclusions about him. From the outset I found him to be grounded, concerned, and ready to work. I was most impressed with his track record in empowering those he represents, and with the time he spends meeting face-to-face with his constituents. He cares about their concerns and makes those concerns a priority in his efforts to improve his district. He has a way of making a big job feel like could it be accomplished well, if we all have a voice and work together.
The fact is that Eric Garcetti's past performance speaks for him loudly and clearly. In District 13, he was responsible for job growth and for tripling the number of parks for his public. He also expanded the number of after-school programs in his district's schools, and as a parent, my feelings about the importance of quality education cannot be overemphasized. I was impressed to find that Garcetti is not a "top-down" leader--he stands side by side with those in his community, creating opportunities for everyone to participate in the district's growth.
Having watched the primaries closely, when I saw that Wendy Greuel would run against Garcetti for the mayor's seat, I was a little conflicted. Having a woman serve as the mayor of Los Angeles would be very cool. But Greuel's gender does not outweigh for me what I believe to be Garcetti's sincerity and commitment to raising up and empowering his constituents.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that the Mid-Wilshire district, where I live, had decided every mayoral race for nearly a decade. With that in mind, I will be at my local grocery store, park, library, and school tomorrow, urging my neighbors to be sure they vote. I'll tell them I'm supporting Garcetti, and I hope they will also.