MAILANDER’S LA-As we fasten our belts and the year 2013 makes its final approach, turbulence in new Garcetti mayoralty is emerging everywhere. Why does the Mayor have such a decidedly weak team of advisers? Why does the Mayor's office spend so much time thinking of photo poses and so little time thinking about the local economy? Why did the Mayor appoint so many talentless civic trolls and even Neighborhood Council types to important civic commissions?
Why would Jeff Millman, or someone like him, ask Rick Orlov to write an item about Ana Guerrero running for office without quoting or even asking Ana Guerrero about it?
(And as an entertaining aside, why would Rick Orlov comply with such a request, and not even quote Ana Guerrero herself when writing about it? Should we now consider Orlov yet another Mayoral media publicist?)
And why does Eric Garcetti, who promised establishing a local aerospace czar, seem to hate the idea of growing jobs from things with wings?
There are I'm sure over a hundred people presently contemplating running for various City Council slots in 2015, and it was sad to see the otherwise venerable Orlov do the Mayor's bidding for the sake of shaking Jose Huizar's cage. After all, whatever else there is to say about Jose Huizar, he is indeed a college grad who has made a career out of thinking for himself; whereas Ana Guererro is not a college grad and has spent most of her known adult career as Garcetti's order-taker. But neither is Mitch O'Farrell a college grad, for that matter, and Garcetti does seem to favor the kind of machine-ready team-mates who will always acknowledge he's the smartest guy around.
I do suppose there are over a hundred people in town who are enough lacking in self-esteem and co-optible by a relatively fat salary to consider run for City Council in 2015.
There must be a half-dozen various poorly paid disgruntled school board members alone who are anxious to follow in Paul Krekorian's and Nury Martinez's opportunistic footsteps.
There are plenty more would-be office-grasshoppers on the Community College board and even in the State Assembly. Also, does Harvey Englander have any more LA nephews?
This would all be merely entertaining were it not for the fact that even places like O'Farrell's old Oklahoma are leaving LA in the dust when it comes to competing for things like commercial applications for drone technology and perhaps landing more of Boeing in the Southland--something even Governor Brown has expressed interest and invested time in. But where is Garcetti on growing LA aerospace and capturing low-hanging fruit presently being dangled by Boeing and the Feds and other aerospace concerns?
Local aerospace giants Boeing and Northrop are trying to ramp up for a well-deserved bumper crop year in 2014 and the prospect of bringing ten or twenty thousand jobs to the southland. This is also happening in Oklahoma, which has landed several commercial drone contracts and has formed political teams to land some more. But Garcetti's team is still focused on street-vending, political positioning, and making sure the Mayor poses for the right kind of Facebook photos for his hundred or so fawning counterfeit activists.
To me, why Garcetti has shown so much interest in wandering the streets of Pacoima and landing a Federal windfall to rehab LA's flood-prone river, and so little interest in ambitious and exciting new things with wings, is not so hard to understand when you look at his educational pedigree. It reflects an early life of top-tier entitlement and almost no trust in private ventures whatsoever.
While Garcetti likes to chat up his humble roots side, if you look for some kind of evidence in Eric Garcetti's biography regarding what he might know about economics--you can't find much beyond whatever lessons are attendant to privilege. As a child, he attended UCLA's Lab School, a completely mollycoddled elementary environment (with a cute little stream of its own) that is difficult even for the son of a District Attorney to be granted admission to. His high school is Harvard-Westlake--college prep all the way in its Holmby Hills enclave.
He went to Columbia in New York City in the early '90's, overlapping the transitional and ill-starred Dinkins Mayoralty almost precisely. New York had experienced a decade of gentrification after years and years of precipitous decline. While there, Garcetti had a chance to see how Dinkins lost his office, even to a Republican in NYC, mostly by losing the City's Jewish vote while dithering after the Crown Heights Riots in the middle of his only term. If Garcetti seems over-anxious to satisfy any and every identity group from gay to Ghanan, this may provide a clue as to why.
From there, this prince of unique Angeleno privilege went to Oxford. Not any old Oxford college, but an ancient and sturdy one, Queen's, one that will soon be 800 years old and that has one of the top endowments among all Oxford colleges.
It is often parroted by media that Garcetti also studied at the London School of Economics, but the Mayor never promotes what he actually studied there or what he was even trying to do there. The school is as illustrious for political science and social science as it is noted for economics. I'd like especially to learn a little more about this part of Garcetti's education. It might be instructive. It might be funny. I hope to check that out a bit more.
That Garcetti after all this early privilege surrounds himself with so many people who never went to college at all, and that he also esteems media so little as to order people not to respond to anyone with tough questions is already well known.
Historically, these kinds of paranoid traits are the downfall of those on the far far left. The only folks Garcetti seems to show any favor on his staff are those he can easily manipulate; the only media shown any favor in City Hall these days are the media who show favor to City Hall. That's not the way democracy works, but that's the way Garcetti works his team.
These are among the only reasons I can think of that might account for Garcetti's bizarre lack of expressed interest in one of the region’s top industry groups. The one with wings.
(Joseph Mailander is a writer, an LA observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He is also the author of Days Change at Night: LA's Decade of Decline, 2003-2013. Mailander blogs here.)
Vol 11 Issue 100
Pub: Dec 13, 2013