RANTZ & RAVEZ-Some of us have witnessed an elected LA City official sworn-in to serve the public, either in person or via the media.
There is a lot of pomp and circumstance following the election, but then the work begins. I remember my entry into the political arena and taking the oath, which I believed in with my heart and soul. I wanted to carry out all my duties and responsibilities and to live up to my words before God, myself, my supporters, and my critics.
I look back on my years as an elected member of the LA Charter Reform Commission and my 12 years as an LA City councilmember and can honestly say that I tried my best to honor the commitment I made to everyone. Years later, I still remember the words of that oath.
I recently reviewed that oath of office. It reminded me that the oath is a promise you must remember to keep as a basis for serving the people who have elected you.
According to the City Charter, an oath of office for Los Angeles Elected City officials is required.
“Every officer provided for in the Charter shall, before entering upon the discharge of the duties of office, take the following oath or affirmation:
‘I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California and the Charter of the City of Los Angeles, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office according to the best of my ability.’”
I will now examine just how this has worked out for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.
After being elected to his second term, the Mayor was sworn in on the steps of City Hall on July 1, 2017 by his mother Sukey Garcetti; he was joined his wife Amy Elaine Wakefield and their daughter Maya. The following are excerpts from the Mayor’s Second Inaugural Address speech: (Let’s see how things have turned out as compared to his words.)
“We must connect. We must succeed at sustaining middle-class jobs, at strengthening education, at protecting our environment while growing our economy because right now, it’s on us to show the way forward.”
My first verdict: That has not worked out as promised.
“And we changed the culture of City Hall. For the first time, three citywide elected officials and fifteen councilmembers set aside the stale, unending competition for the day’s headlines. Instead, we sought out the levers where the powers of each of us, exercised with prudence and passion, could double the efforts of the others all in the service of a fearer, safer, prouder city.”
My second verdict: Two LA City councilmembers have been arrested by the FBI, the City Attorney’s Office is being investigated by the FBI, and investigations continue into additional corruption at City Hal.
“You, the voters, passed one of the largest initiatives to help the homeless, and, before two seasons turned, you did it again. You invested in Measure M, the most ambitious municipal initiative in this country by railroad mile. Today, we look upon a city with more potential, more ambition and more unity than we looked out on four years ago.”
My third verdict: The homeless population has continued to increase over previous years in the City of Los Angeles. There was a 16% increase in the homeless population from 2019 to 2020. The number went from 35,550 to 41,290. Los Angeles County saw an increase of 13%, going from 58,936 to 66,436.
While more rail lines are being established, ridership is down, and safety concerns exist with transit riders.
“Crime remains a challenge. So does moving through our city. Even as we rise to face it, homelessness rises faster, every tent and blanket calling on our deepest reserves of courage, creativity and compassion.”
My fourth verdict: Mayor Garcetti called police officers “killers” and recommended a cut of $150 million to the LAPD budget. This, after recent riots occurred in Los Angeles along with the destruction of many business locations and numerous police vehicles. The LA City Council approved the $150 million cut from the current LAPD budget. This is at a time when crime numbers are increasing, and officers are falling back for survival.
Elected officials need to remember that they are accountable to the people of the community. As we can see, problems are growing bigger in LA while leadership is failing to find real solutions.
(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County.)