L.A. Now Live: Will Garcetti the mayor go back to basics?

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti and other officials at the opening ceremony of the newly refurbished Echo Park Lake.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

When it comes to glitz and showmanship, Los Angeles’ next mayor is taking things down a notch. Since his victory last month, Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti has made few major announcements. He abandoned the idea of a transition team studded with big civic names, and he has ruled out plans for a black-tie inaugural ball, opting instead for a party in Grand Park with music and food.

The biggest hoopla so far has come from Garcetti’s “back to basics” listening tour, with residents in Boyle Heights, Northridge and elsewhere dutifully gathering in groups and putting their ideas for the city’s future on Post-It Notes.

Join us at 9 a.m. as we talk with Times reporter David Zahniser about Garcetti’s relatively low-key and slimmed-down transition strategy and what it is signaling about the tone his administration hopes to set.


The understated approach stands in contrast to outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who quickly infused City Hall with a sense of drama eight years ago. Villaraigosa’s face appeared on the cover of Newsweek within days of his 2005 election, and he welcomed 1,500 people -- men in tuxedos, women in evening gowns -- to a lavish inaugural gala with Natalie Cole performing and actor Jimmy Smits serving as emcee.

This year’s quieter transition also shows how much city government has been transformed since the last big mayoral handover. Villaraigosa took office during a booming economy. Garcetti will take the reins after a difficult downturn, a period when more than 5,000 jobs were erased from the city payroll.

Garcetti says he is determined to keep his transition focused on “the quiet work behind the scenes” -- identifying his priorities and assembling his administration of staffers and political appointees.