Garcetti Inauguration Day

From this

little campaigners

to this

We did it!

The campaign trail is over.  Eric Garcetti was sworn in as the 42nd Mayor of LA yesterday. Mark and I were there.  We took the red line downtown.   I was sure I would be needed to MC, sing a song, hold a bible, but if you have Jimmy Kimmel, Moby and your wife on hand I guess not. Alas, my work was done.  As exciting as it is to see your guy win, there is a little bittersweet element, “Don’t you guys need me anymore?”

My sister Carole and my nephew Charlie who also worked on the campaign were there along with my brother in law Kevin and a good friend of Charlie’s who helped him make calls for Eric.  It was on the steps of city hall.  All were invited, but only a few  ( 1,000?) got a paper invitation with a seat.  We were in that group and we were pleased.  There was the blue group and the purple group. Purple group over here!

before it started...

The purple group were a tad closer flanking the stage.  I was on Eric’s stage right.  His wife Amy Wakeland looked great in a red/orange dress and Eric had a sharp hair cut himself. The new city councilman were sworn in and when that was done they did a big group hug.   Paul Koretz got caught in the middle and looked a little uncomfortable.  Sure it was the heat.

Moby singing, Eric down front with wife in orange red dress

Then the big moment.  Eric had a kid give him the oath. Yeah, cute, but how about a mom blogger?  Heh?  I can say “repeat after me”.

I kept scanning the heads of the people on the “floor”.  That’s where the Garcetti family was, politicians, consulates.  I saw Jan Perry, Nate Holden, Gray Davis and there front row was the other mayoral candidate Wendy Gruel, and now former city controller.  She looked very nice in a green dress sitting next to her husband and some council members. I was glad to see her there.  Since I love peaceful democratic processes and good sports.  Man it was hot…

hiding from the sun

Though the record June heat in LA left us all sweaty I tried not to drink to much of the water as I have a phobia of porta potties.  My phobia is that they are GROSS. The “Garcetti Fans” they had passed out came in handy to block the unrelenting sun. I was glad when Eric mentioned working.. wait, when Mayor Garcetti mentioned working with Neighborhood Councils.  I’m on one and I would like to stay active in helping our community, our city.  “Over, here, over here, I can help.”

Before we left Rex told me, “Mommy, you have a fancy face, but not a fancy dress.”  But, it’s a day event Rex and I need a dress that will breathe.

“Not fancy” he repeated.  He asked why he couldn’t come and play with Maya, like he had the other times I worked for Eric.  “We will try to see her this summer.  They have a lot going on right now.”

Carole and Fancy Face

Eric quite rightly bagged the idea of a fancy party, though Rex might not have approved and threw a fair like gathering at the new park that adjoins city hall.  There were bands, food trucks, porta potties.  I don’t do food trucks.  There is always a line and I don’t love the food, for the most part.  I talked to a few people I knew from the campaign and then we walked a half mile to a restaurant.  Now that the sun was down it was a lovely night.

Cold wine, good food and recapping sharing a neat experience with my nephew.  Good luck Mayor! We are still Garcetti fans.

 

LA Mayors Race: me pissed at Emily’s List

UPDATE: notice ping back in comments, this post was picked up by some outlets regarding this subject.  Yeah, for once it not just me!

 

LA Mayors race is STILL going on. Some developments have caused me to BREAK TIES and SPEAK OUT against politicos who I use to respect.   To recap, my pick Eric Garcetti came in first in the primary.  No one got 50% so now it’s between him and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

I left town for 2 weeks over spring break and somehow the Garcetti campaign cobbled on without me! Cobbled meaning continued endorsements and a rise in the polls.

two of the best guys in LA!

As soon as we got back I felt I needed to jump back in and within a day Rex and Vivien were playing at Chez Garcetti with Eric’s adorable little girl while I phoned voters downstairs with other volunteers and his wife Amy. Two days later Mark was cooking a show stopping dinner at a friends fab house to raise money for the Garcetti campaign.  The food was extraordinary. It was great to see not only Eric, but it was really great to see his whip smart wife when we weren’t canvassing!  Those of us seated by her were transfixed as she told us about  why they chose to be foster parents and some of the connections they have made over the years.  When she got up the rest of us were saying stuff like, “oh, what a great thing to do, how wonderful, don’t think I could do it.”  But, that’s not for the mics.

In front of the mic, my former old favorite Bill Clinton really ticked me off because he announced his endorsement for Wendy Greuel.  Sure, that’s his right, but why?  It’s a race between two Pro Choice Democrats in a city that Clinton has NO connection or history too. Keep your nose out of it. I haven’t been this mad at Bill since the Blue Dress.  Greuel supported Hilary in ’08, but dang it so did I.   Bubba, don’t you have enough going on?  Go bring medicine to Africa, somewhere you can be useful. Ironic, because I think Eric Garcetti has Clinton-like intelligence and charisma.  An ability to speak from the heart to all types of people. To be fair, Clinton hasn’t said anything bad about Garcetti. But, a group I USE to like has.

MY deep rage I save for Emily’s list.  They endorsed Greuel and have given her a pot of money.  Now, this group is about supporting pro choice women candidates, so I’m not mad at them for following through with their mandate.  Over the years I have given them money.  I gave them money to support women, not make sexist ads and tear down a feminist man.  Check this out:  Wow, Eric has nice legs and pretty blond hair. I’ve been to Eric’s house, I’ve seen what he drives, he does not live like Paris Hilton.   Garcetti was endorsed by NOW (California chapter of National Organization of Women)  He has a great record of supporting women’s issues, hiring women on his staff and addressing everyday concerns of women.  He increased parks in his district and put after school programs in the schools in his district.  This is about him being up 10% in up in the polls.

Also, if that picture of the blond came from a male led group cries of sexism would be immense.

Last year I stopped giving to the Democratic Senate fund because I realized, hey some of those people I don’t like.  I would rather pick my own candidate.  I feel that way about Emily’s list now. I will do my own picking.

 

How did I end up in Eric Garcetti’s kitchen? : LA Mayors Race part 2

 Does this campaign make my butt look big? No, because when you canvas you walk! More about one of my latest part-time “jobs”.

That's my kind of mayor!

So, there are several reasons why I ended up in Eric Garcetti’s kitchen ( see blog post from a few days ago…) One is there is a grounded quality to him and a clear integrity.  When Campanile announced it was closing Eric wrote to me and Mark .  It was a personal note and I don’t want to share it, but to say it was appreciated.

Another reason…Several weeks ago I spoke to Eric at a another gathering of supporters and or would be supporters.  This was a bunch of people who are in charter schools, like we are. I think it’s the 7th or 8th time I’ve heard him speak,  yet I still enjoy hearing him speak.  I feel that he can lead LA into the next phase with dynamism, intelligence, and imagination.

He and his wife have adopted a baby girl and after speaking to the crowd at this convocation he was rushing out to do the “night duty”, that’s another reason.

Amy Wakeland in my dining room addressing volunteers about how to canvas

Another reason I love the guy is his choice of spouse.  No small aside is his wife Amy Wakeland.  She is a strong, confident, whip smart woman.  They met when they were both Rhodes Scholars .  However, she is also down to earth and will envelope friends in a warm hug.  No job is too small for her, no detail is missed.  One day my sister and I were going out to canvas for Eric and she told us if a voter had more questions get their number and she will call them.  We thought for a second she was kidding.  She was not, and she does.

The other week I hosted a canvassing party at our house.  The carrot was that Mark Peel would be making his famous grilled cheese sandwiches for volunteers.  It’s hard to get people to go knock on strangers doors and ask them to vote for your guy, but the food did it.  We had a good crowd and there was Amy leading the troops with her daughter crawling nearby. Classic strong working mom. She separated the tiny, swallowable toys out of the toy basket I had presented, changes a diaper and then told 30 people how to hit the bricks to get her husband elected with aplomb.  Fired up, I canvassed while my sister Cecily watched my kids.

Now, it’s not all work supporting a candidate.  The other week my friend and I went to a concert Moby gave to raise money for Eric’s campaign.  Jimmy Kimmel hosted. Will Ferrel made a funny video.    Last week I went to a Chefs for Garcetti event.  This time, my husband wasn’t one of them, but lots of other good restaurants participated with tasty dishes, Little Fork, Black Market and wine from Silver Lake Wine. I went stag, but hailed Gil Garcetti down to take a picture with me at their red carpet meets photo booth set up.  Gil is Eric’s father and former District Attorney of LA ( the ’90′s, OJ, yeah him).  Sweet guy, now he is an art photographer.  He has been making cold calls to voters on his sons behalf.  

“Aren’t people surprised that you are calling them?” I asked.

“Sometimes they think it’s a robo call.  One woman asked me to prove it.” He chuckled.  I didn’t ask how, but wondered what he would say to prove he is really Gil Garcetti.  Tell the lady where Eric has a birth mark?

Since I’ve been pounding the pavement for Garcetti for Mayor  I get asked “how can you do this with kids?” Like everything else when you are a parent the answer is two-fold 1) selectively, can’t go to every event and 2) it takes a village.

Direct voter contact is proven to be effective in getting out the vote.  A couple of times Amy invited me and some other mom supporters, to come to her house. She had a sitter there for her daughter so they would watch my kids as well.  Vivien and Rex had a great time hanging out.  I was touched by being so easily welcomed into their home, even if  I was there to help.

One day, a few other supporters were sitting in the front room or kitchen.  I sat at the counter in the kitchen so I could charge my phone while I called potential voters.  Eric was in between events and he was working around us. There is little difference between the “on” side to Eric and the at home eating left overs out of his fridge. “Do you want some he asked?” as I sat at his kitchen counter dialing voters.  A rare time I didn’t take food that was proffered, but I had gassed up before hand.  Whether I speak to him casually as a friend or hear him address a crowd he has a light that attracts people like the proverbial moth.

I heard Eric making his own calls and there was no cynicism as he moved from donor support, or reaching out to a community leader.  A few times I was stymied by an inquiry on the phone.  Sometimes you reach thoughtful people who want  deeper answers to the questions than I can provide.

“Well, Joyce, if you care about the environment you should know Eric was endorsed by the Sierra Club.”  But, she had more detailed question and “did I mention how nice he was to my mother?”  Didn’t seem like it would cut it, though I thought it should.    I put my hand over the phone,

“Eric, can you talk to Joyce, she is an environmentalist.”  He took the phone from me and rattled off a bunch of things he has done.   Nation’s widest-reaching green building ordinance, the nation’s largest local clean water initiative, and legislation leading to the nation’s largest solar rooftop program, etc.   He spent some time with her.  “Can I count on you for support?” he said finally.  “Thank you Joyce.”

When he hung up I said, “you are the closer!”  I said, wait, we gotta take a picture of this.  So we recreated the calling.  THAT is how I ended up in Eric Garcetti’s kitchen. 

 When we left he gave Rex and Vivien campaign buttons.

Rex was making a fierce face for canvassing, Viv takes a lighter approach

Sarah of MomsLA asked if I would interview him for a video for their site.  We got a few minutes as he rushed between engagements.  The street sound is not ideal, but here is some of it.  I’m going to try a pass at my own edit later, but Sarah did well to get this together.

Rex told me today that “Eric Garcetti is going to win.”  It was even cuter because we weren’t even talking about the election.  I was pouring chocolate milk.

I really hope Eric Garcetti wins the primary and the run off in May.  I think it would be great for Los Angeles. It’s been great to be part of the campaign and to share with my children what it is like to be involved in local politics like I did when I was growing up.  Well, except for hating some of your neighbors who didn’t support your dad, they can miss that part.

Los Angeles Vote on March 5th Tuesday.  Seriously