President Garcetti? Surely You Jest

@THE GUSS REPORT-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has a big problem. The “gelatinous one,” so named because he will never give a straight answer (e.g. is LA a sanctuary city or not?) wants to run for president, but both history and his resume say it will never happen.


Having spent most of his adult life as either an LA City Councilmember or Mayor, and little else other than being a candidate for political jobs elsewhere, Garcetti is a birdie who never flew the coop.

How’s that working out, LA?

Homelessness in LA, especially for veterans, isn’t something that suddenly got worse when Garcetti became Mayor. But it has grown exponentially during the 4 ½ years he was City Councilmember, the six years he was City Council president and the 4+ years he has been Mayor. And it is getting worse by the minute. Garcetti carries more responsibility than anyone presently in City Hall for not fixing it.

Replace the word homelessness in the above sentence with traffic, debt and pension chaos, shooting of unarmed black men, a dearth of affordable housing for the middle class, dwindling ridership on public transportation despite his foolish “road diet,” not getting Farmer’s Field built or landing the Rams, Chargers or the Super Bowl which will be played down the way in a few years. He said he would try to get the Dodgers broadcast situation resolved, but didn’t. And if the Los Angeles media weren’t so gullible on homeless animal and cruelty issues, he wouldn’t get away with his phony claim that LA is a “No Kill” city. More on that soon.

Yes, Garcetti landed an Olympics. But not the one he wanted. If there is any glory coming his way for that – and that’s a big if – it won’t be until years after he leaves office.

For a long while now, Garcetti has tried to escape LA City Hall, despite his protestations that he loves his current job, including almost immediately after he was elected Mayor in July 2013. Remember how quickly he vied to become President Obama’s HUD Secretary? In July 2014, that job went to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who had 5 years of mayoralty experience under his belt by that time.

To Garcetti, LA has always been a stepping stone, but almost always a mismanaged one.

During his stint as Los Angeles City Council president, the City Hall lawn became a drug- and feces-infested disaster – with his blessing – as he told Occupy LA protestors, “Stay as long as you need….we’re here to support you.”  

But just weeks later, Garcetti’s welcomed guests created such a menace and health hazard, the city unleashed hundreds of LAPD officers on them through the bowels of LA City Hall as the property was closed down for months with scores of workers in hazmat suits de-pooping and de-needling it.

 To add insult to injury, the 2011 City Council motion overseen by Garcetti that supported the Occupiers, resulted in your paying out $2.45 million to them in 2015 for the LAPD’s abusive “shock and awe” methods.  

Even history outside of LA shows that Garcetti will not make the jump to the Oval Office, try as he might.

American mayors almost never become president, but those who did (Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge) both had long tenures in New York and Massachusetts, respectively, including state senate president, lieutenant governor, governor and, in Coolidge’s case, as vice president of the United States.

America’s greatest mayor in the last half century, New York’s Rudy Giuliani – one of the all-time greats -- has a resume that includes titles like U.S. Attorney, taking on and beating everyone from the mafia to Wall Street crooks Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. Then, as New York Mayor, he cleaned up 42nd Street, built up the NYPD and was the Rock of Gibraltar in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

And he didn’t even come close to getting his party’s nomination.

Last week, the LA Times wrote that Garcetti is spending a lot of time in faraway places that a prospective presidential nominee would go to be seen and heard. That is squandered time and energy he should be spending here on LA’s problems as our Mayor, a job he says he wants but whose actions show otherwise.

Whoever runs against President Trump – or perhaps President Pence – in 2020, it will not likely be a Californian, since the nominee will need both accomplishment and appeal to the Midwest, South and places not named LA and NY – and Garcetti lacks all of it. The only way for him to even sniff D.C. is through the eventually vacated seat of Senator Dianne Feinstein, and he is no shoe-in for that, either.

The one thing Garcetti probably fears most is becoming the next Antonio Villaraigosa; a former Mayor in search of his next gig, when he has little to show so far for his time in LA. But like his predecessor, he may have to settle for corporate boards and lecturing at a university.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.