Eric Garcetti inauguration: little pomp but plenty of people power


Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti is taking his power-to-the-people pitch to Sunday’s inauguration festivities, planning an event that includes Steampunk carnival games, multi-culti music and an oath of office administered by the 13-year-old daughter of a janitor.

Hollywood, a major backer of Garcetti’s campaign, will also be on hand. Jimmy Kimmel is emceeing, and techno master Moby, accompanied by a choir, will kick off the event with a song. For the most part, though, Garcetti has planned a ceremony with little pomp followed by a free public party in downtown’s Grand Park.

“We’ve been saying this transition is less about symbolism and more about work,” said Yusef Robb, Garcetti’s chief spokesman. “This inauguration is definitely about sending a message to the people of Los Angeles that the power comes from you and that’s the way it should be.”


Garcetti has been vacationing with his family in Belize this week and is expected back Friday. He’s putting the finishing touches on a speech that will probably carry a “back to basics” theme, Robb said, an emphasis the mayor-elect has talked about with community groups across the city as he prepared to take power July 1.

Sunday’s inauguration is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on the Spring Street steps outside City Hall. It’s only ceremonial: Garcetti will officially be sworn in Friday by City Clerk June Lagmay, Robb said, and a power shift won’t take place until midnight Sunday, when termed-out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa leaves the post.

The public ceremony will start with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Lily Newman, a fifth-grader at Porter Ranch Community School.

Besides Moby, there will be performances by Afghan American singer Ariana Delawari and two-time Grammy winner Melanie Fiona.

Oaths will be taken by City Atty.-elect Mike Feuer (administered by California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris), City Controller-elect Ron Galperin (administered by state Controller John Chiang) and eight City Council members, six of whom are newly elected.

An earlier version of this article misspelled John Chiang’s last name as Chung.

Next will come the mayor-elect’s oath. Robb said Garcetti didn’t want to be sworn in by “a guy in a robe.... He said, ‘Let’s find someone who represents who I work for and what the city is all about.’”


That person will be Kenia Castillo, a Westlake eighth-grader who attends Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park. The mayor-elect met her when her mother, a janitor, was striking for better wages, and she went on to volunteer in his campaign, Robb said.

Reserved ticket holders will be able to watch from bleachers on Spring Street or stand in an adjacent section of the park.

After the oaths and speeches, the focus will shift to an entertainment stage in Grand Park just south of Broadway. DJ Canyon will kick things off, followed by L.A.-based acts Buyepongo, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Jungle Fire and Moonlight Trio.

Food trucks and carnival booths sponsored by Two Bit Circus will be on hand.

The public can enter at 1st Street and Broadway, with gates opening at 5 p.m. Garcetti’s staff is warning that parking will be limited and that people should arrive early. To avoid traffic, people can take the Red Line subway to the Civic Center station, which has an exit near Grand Park.

Closures of Broadway and Spring Street between 1st and Temple streets will begin around 7 p.m. Friday to prepare for the event. Both streets will be reopened Monday morning.

The cost of the inauguration party is still be tallied and will be paid by donors to Garcetti’s transition fund. Contributors have given $120,000 so far, including a dozen people at the $10,000 maximum, according to records provided by aides to City Controller Wendy Greuel.

Donors include Warner Bros. Chief Executive Barry Meyer, philanthropist and investor David Bohnett and San Pedro businessman Jayme Wilson, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 2011. One $10,000 donation came from Fire Commissioner Steven Fazio, who also gave to Greuel, Garcetti’s opponent in the mayoral race.

Another donor is Kenneth Sampson, who serves on the North Valley Area Planning Commission. Like Fazio, he contributed to Greuel’s campaign. Other San Fernando Valley contributors include former Police Commissioner Herbert F. Boeckmann and his wife, Jane Boeckmann.

Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.