WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--In late September, six months into a global pandemic that had devastated his city, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti prayed.
(Photo above: President elect Joe Biden and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.)
It was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, and things were a mess. On his watch, more than 250,000 people in L.A. County had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. More than 6,000 had died. Things were just as gloomy for the economy, with nearly 750,000 people out of work in L.A. county, bringing the region’s rate to a staggering 15-percent.
To find solace, L.A.’s top government official Zoomed in from his living room to services with IKAR, the non-denominational, politically progressive congregation where he’s been a longtime member. Wrapped in a tallit, Garcetti danced ecstatically to a central prayer in the musaf service, which had become a kind of anthem at the congregation.
As the music intensified, Garcetti jumped back and forth, up and down, oscillating between the prayer’s poles of strength and surrender— in an apt metaphor for his mayoralty. Over two terms, the Los Angeles mayor has faced a litany of challenges — a daunting homeless problem, relentless traffic issues, the pandemic, and a sex scandal — that have all laid bare his gifts and his shortcomings.
Now, with the election of former Vice President Joe Biden to the presidency, Garcetti’s record is under the microscope like never before, as rumors swirl that he’s on a shortlist of potential cabinet nominees in the new administration.