Youth reporter Sylvester Foley speaks to Mayor Eric Garcetti about his plans beyond the campaign.
Boyle Heights Beat: We saw a lot of you in Boyle Heights during your campaign, but where will Boyle Heights and other low-income communities be on your priority list as mayor?
Garcetti: I have been here already three times in the interim, and I’ve probably spent more time here than in any other neighborhood. We had our first kickoff of a “listening tour” between the election and my inauguration, we’re going to six different neighborhoods, and the first one was Boyle Heights. We had probably 200 people a week and a half ago at Puente Learning Center.
It was really important for me to start in Boyle Heights, because as we were talking about, my family started here in Boyle Heights. It will continue to be high up in my agenda.
You know, being mayor is like having 92 children, and you have to make sure that none feel more favored than the others because the moment I say Boyle Heights is my favorite, then Granada Hills gets angry, and Wilmington gets upset. So I love all my children equally, but I really love Boyle Heights.
Boyle Heights Beat: Could you please provide more specific examples of your plans?
Sure. Some of the things I’ve already done: like here [Boyle Heights Technology Center], we had a hack-a-thon.looking at making sure that people who live in Boyle Heights or don’t live in Boyle Heights come to Boyle Heights to look at apps that we can improve our lives with””taking city data and putting it out in the community so people can use traffic information, crime information. The app that won was actually one for Boyle Heights, which tries to get people to shop and eat locally, and if you do that, there’s certain points you get and that can go back into the community and can help pay for college scholarships for our students here. I’ll be working from Boyle Heights as mayor some days. There’s going to be a municipal building. It’s not done yet but I don’t just want to work out of City Hall downtown. I want to work here. I want to work in San Pedro City Hall. In Van Nuys City Hall. But Boyle Heights will be one of those places.
I think I’ll be here for those important commemorations. My grandfather was an undocumented migrant here from Mexico, and he became a citizen in World War 2 because he volunteered for that war. So these veterans who are here in Boyle Heights are very near and dear to me. And every year for Memorial and Veteran’s Day, if I can get to both, I go to Cinco Puntos, which is where we have the [Mexican-American] All Wars Memorial.