In his first public appearance post-victory, Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti thanked voters for believing “that an independent mayor was worth voting for.”
"Real grass-roots enthusiasm trumps money, trumps endorsements, trumps everything,” said Garcetti, who on Tuesday beat rival Wendy Greuel by nearly 8 percentage points, according to unofficial election results, despite heavy spending on Greuel's behalf by labor groups.
Standing amid a crowd of supporters at a news conference outside an Echo Park nonprofit, Garcetti said he was ready to work with labor groups and would sit down with them to find ways to reduce employee costs. He vowed to improve basic city services, to hold city department heads accountable and to hold City Hall office hours with everyday Angelenos.
But he said his top priority during his first year of office would be putting people all across the city back to work.
"I will focus like a laser on our economy," he vowed. "That will be our road to prosperity: a business- friendly city, people working, bringing down the unemployment rate."
Garcetti drew contrasts between himself and current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will step down June 30 after two terms. Villaraigosa "has been a charismatic mayor,” said Garcetti. “I think I’m much more of a street-level mayor."
Although Villaraigosa came to the mayor’s office having served in the state Assembly, Garcetti said his own experience in a council office makes him well-suited for delivering services to constituents. He pledged to be a mayor who is a man of the people regularly walking the streets and working some days out of city offices in San Pedro and the San Fernando Valley.
After answering questions from journalists, Garcetti was mobbed by dozens of supporters seeking handshakes, hugs and photographs. It took more than five minutes for his aides to ferry him through the crowd, causing one journalist to send a wry tweet:
"People are pushing to take photos of @ericgarcetti like they're not going to get another chance for 4 years.”