Does Los Angeles remind you of Les Miserables? A place where the wealthy and powerful live in opulence while the poor live in squalor and have no recourse? As troubled as Los Angeles is, it’s not as bad as 19th-century Paris. But, shouldn’t it be much, much better?
The story in Saturday’s LA Times’ On the Record newsletter about L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti planning some parties before he vacates the Mayor’s office triggered memories of reading Les Miserables. According to the story, “Garcetti is going to spend some time next week talking up what he sees as the successes of his tenure. That’s on top of several valedictory parties for staff and friends.”
Several valedictory parties for staff and friends? Did any of the approximately 40,000 people who are currently unhoused in the city receive a party invite?
After almost 10 years as Mayor and another 12 years as Councilmember before that, it makes sense that Garcetti would want to celebrate his time in office. And there have been some accomplishments during his tenure. But, have there been enough accomplishments for someone whose full-time job was to make the City of the Angels a better place to live, work, own a business, and visit? Certainly, nowhere near enough to warrant a week of parties and celebratory photo ops.
Criticizing politicians as they walk out the door is easy, but hopefully, this can open a few eyes in City Hall. Soon to be Mayor Karen Bass has asked Garcetti staffers to stay on the job as she works on hiring new staff. Maybe those City Hall insiders can take a moment to reflect on what could have been accomplished and what can still be accomplished under a new administration.
While enjoying the valedictory parties in heated buildings, the staff can think about the tens of thousands of people who are sleeping outside in near freezing temperatures. As Garcetti spends his last few days living in the Getty mansion, maybe he will reflect on how he can help the new Mayor have a successful tenure.