June 14, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Brentwood Roots

Westside Today executive editor Brenton Garen interviews LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at City Hall on a range of Westside topics.
Westside Today executive editor Brenton Garen interviews LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at City Hall on a range of Westside topics.

Q: When did you live in Brentwood? Any poignant memories?

A: It was my senior year of high school. Brentwood was a great place, a village in a big city. From hanging out at the Country Mart (which I had done since I was a little kid) or when we would visit friends or my mom would talk about having grown up in Brentwood, Brentwood was a beautiful place to live. I particularly loved going to the top of Kenter Ave. in high school and hiking behind the power lines and seeing the city spread out like a bed of jewels.

Q: Anything happen at that time that pushed you in the direction of public service?

A: The year that I lived in Brentwood, I was elected to my first office in student government at Harvard High School. I was very involved in issues, especially having to do with homelessness and the environment. Seeing homeless individuals around the VA led me to work with some homeless organizations through my school (something called the Downtown Project) and I helped do beach cleanups and tree plantings and had my first internship with the Tree People.

Q: Any special friends you made here?

A: One of my very best friends growing up was Matt Kidd, son of Sheila and Michael Kidd, who lived on Old Oak Lane, so I remember spending time at Paul Revere and going up the canyons as a kid. My good friend Peter Richards lived on Mandeville Canyon and my good friend Rachel Silverstein was on Kenter. These were all special friends who lived in the neighborhood and as someone who was a newly-licensed driver when I came to Brentwood, I have fond memories of visiting my friends in the neighborhood. My first girlfriend I met at a party in the 8th grade on Bristol.

Q: Any favorite Brentwood hangouts?

A: As a kid, the Country Mart, of course. And the top of Kenter Canyon. But these days, my wife and I love coming with our daughter to visit her grandparents. While they are watching her, we steal away for a mushroom pizza at Toscana. Peppone is a great old-school hangout and we feel like we are stepping back in time when we are there. Walking through the neighborhood and seeing the incredible trees that you can find in Brentwood Park has always been a great way to see the day end. We’ve enjoyed watching San Vicente grow while maintaining its beauty and scale.

Q: What kind of influence did your parents, Gil and Sukey Garcetti, have on you?

A: I was raised by two incredible and committed public servants, one who worked in county government as a prosecutor and one who headed up a community foundation. They both taught me to work to leave the world a better place than we found it. They taught me to always be humble, to never take oneself too seriously, and the power of humor. I couldn’t imagine having two more loving, more caring parents.

Q: Did you learn anything in Brentwood that could apply to being mayor of all of Los Angeles?

A: Brentwood taught me the power of community. From the beautification of the streets to the creativity of the entrepreneurs, from the way neighbors look out for each other, to the strong tradition of activism, Brentwood set the bar for a community determining its own future. I think I’d like to apply the high level of citizen engagement we see in Brentwood throughout the city of LA and show how when you take care of a main business stretch, you can see the health of the entire neighborhood prosper.

Q: Any thoughts for fixing traffic in the area?

A: We need more traffic engineers assigned to West LA, the more aggressive use of technology to manage light synchronization, road repair and traffic control. Finally, I will have a daily report on the 405-corridor construction, pushing the contractor to finish ahead of the now-extended deadline that they have given us. We need to finish that project now.

Q: Any other messages, observations or thoughts for the residents of Brentwood?

A: Brentwood needs resources to preserve its quality of life. We need bold traffic solutions, such as the extension of the Wilshire subway and a transit tunnel through the Sepulveda pass, to help us alleviate some of the worst traffic in America. We need to guard against overdevelopment and help to preserve the scale of our residential and business streets. We also need to directly engage with the turnaround of our neighborhood schools to give residents options in our public schools for their children. Finally, Brentwood deserves a mayor for the 21st century, one with a proven track record of neighborhood turnaround and one with the independence to lead this city forward.

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