L.A. Now Live: Discussing Mayor Garcetti’s initial city appointments

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a news conference Tuesday to mark his 100th day in office.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Join us at 9 a.m. when we talk with Times reporter David Zahniser about Eric Garcetti’s first months as mayor of Los Angeles and his recent selections for city board members and commissioners.

After he was elected mayor, Garcetti put out a call to civic-minded Angelenos to serve on city boards and commissions.

Four months later, a Times analysis has found that the vast majority of the appointments made so far have gone to people who already had ties to the mayor.


Of the 84 people chosen by Garcetti to serve on city and county boards and commissions, at least three-fourths are friends, former staffers, campaign backers or relatives of campaign backers.

Garcetti’s appointments follow a well-worn practice of Los Angeles mayors, including the man he replaced, Antonio Villaraigosa. The new commissioners will play a significant role for Garcetti, providing citizen oversight of major agencies such as the Police Department, airport and Department of Water and Power, said Raphael J. Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A.

The mayor said in an interview that he is “unquestionably” seeking the best people for commission seats, most of which are volunteer positions. Garcetti said he wants commissioners who support his agenda, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to find that many favored him as a candidate.

Garcetti has yet to choose more than 200 commission appointees. But with many of the most important panels being filled, Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, questioned whether the mayor is casting a wide enough net.

“An appointment process should really have the broadest reach possible, to draw on the talents that Los Angeles has to offer,” she said. “If the search is limited to friends, family and donors of a mayor, that is too limited of a circle.”