Words of Fire, the Frying Pan’s new poetry section debuted this week with a series poems the new mayor should read.
These five poems by some of L.A.’s finest poets are intended to help Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti look closely at our city and listen with care to its diverse voices, from janitors to sidewalk fruit sellers to donut shop insomniacs. They are also an antidote to the platitudes of the campaign trail, and a reminder that the best political speech – and acts – can tap into people’s deepest emotions and aspirations.
the crowded foyer of the L.A. County Museum
of Natural History, and babies shriek like bats
in the elevator that lowers my daughter
and me to the basement….
Eric Garcetti has enormous potential to be one of L.A.’s great mayors. He is young (just 42), full of energy, experienced in politics and government, passionate about L.A., brimming with policy ideas, compassionate toward the disadvantaged and a great communicator and explainer. I saw many of these traits up-close when I co-taught a course with him at Occidental College in 2000, and have watched him blossom as he joined the City Council and served as its president.
Now he faces the daunting challenges of running America’s second-biggest, and most diverse, city.
No mayor can succeed unless he or she attends to the routine civic housekeeping tasks that residents expect from municipal governments – fix the potholes, keep traffic flowing, maintain public safety, keep the parks and playgrounds clean and in good repair.
But Garcetti didn’t run for mayor just to be a caretaker. He promised more.
The political leadership of Los Angeles is changing hands in a month – bringing tremendous challenge and opportunity.
One of the greatest opportunities, for our Mayor-elect and the biggest batch of new City Council members we’ve had in over a decade, is finishing the transformation of our archaic commercial waste and recycling system into a highly effective national model. I say finish because we’re almost there.
Why is this important?
Well, for starters, we’re running out of space to deal with our waste. For decades, as a city and region, we’ve relied on a constellation of toxic landfills, many of which have closed. The largest of those, Puente Hills, is set to close next year, which is going to create a genuine problem for the region, particularly cities like Los Angeles that throw the most away.
The success of Measure R, passed by voters in 2008, the “30-10” plan to accelerate implementation of our transit revolution, and the 66 percent “yes” vote on Measure J each demonstrates that Los Angeles voters are ready to invest in a transportation transformation. There is an opportunity now and a coalition partnership available that’s too good to waste. Together with Mayor Eric Garcetti we must continue cultivating this voter trust and this partnership of labor, business, environmental, community groups and elected officials who share a common vision — of a Los Angeles with a clean public transportation system that is both robust and financially sound, and that has a vigorous economy with prosperity that is widely shared.
As Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has demonstrated so clearly, we can think big about solutions to our challenges as a region — and we can expect to succeed.
Now that the L.A. mayoral race is over, its winner, Eric Garcetti, has much to do to help advance an environmental agenda for Los Angeles. He has a strong record of environmental protection and I’m confident that as mayor he can lead the City to a big and bold vision of environmental sustainability. There are several major issues L.A. will need to address during the next four years. A comprehensive report prepared by UCLA serves as a more in depth analysis than this blog can undertake, but here are some of the major issues that Mayor Garcetti should undertake.
This next year is going to be critical to advancing a future that relies less on landfills and more on reducing, reusing and recycling. Of immediate priority, Eric Garcetti needs to push hard with the City Council to vote on the single-use plastic bag ban ordinance,