Just Another Fast-Paced Day in My Multiethnic Ward
Thinking about running for the city council in your community? Then you might want to read Los Angeles Council Member Eric Garcetti's online diary. If this doesn't dissuade you, nothing will.
It's not just the dizzying pace that's so discouraging (according to Garcetti, he's constantly on the move: "I jump into the passenger seat . . . " "I rush off the City Hall . . . " "I run downstairs . . . " "I race over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall . . .") or the slightly claustrophobic nature of his endless meetings or even the fact that he apparently has little time for studying serious issues. And most people can live with the small hypocrisies of public life. (Example: Garcetti says the one of the things he likes most about local government is the public comment sections of council meetings. Then he goes on to describe the oddballs who show up at council meetings, including one "middle-aged woman whose tirades of impassioned non sequiturs might be characterized as 'colorful.' . . . Today she accuses George Bush of stealing her credit card.")
No, it's Garcetti's granular pandering that's so wearying. Granted, he represents a very diverse part of a very diverse city, but does he have to mention the ethnic background of everyone he bumps into? Take his appearance at a routine ribbon-cutting for a grocery. "India Sweets and Spices is a Los Angeles institution," he writes, "a combination of grocery store, Bollywood DVD center and food counter, but this is its first outpost in Atwater Village. Within a few blocks, there will be Indian, Armenian, British, Italian, Dutch, Cuban, Mexican and Filipino cuisine, a truly global food court."
In case you didn't get the message, he adds, "As a half-Mexican, half-Jew with an Italian last name, I feel right at home." He also mentions several times that he drives a hydrogen-powered car, gardens and raises fruit trees ("the pomegranates look particularly promising this year") and sometimes rides a bicycle to work, at least on "Bike to Work" days.
Occasionally he finds time to reflect at the end of a long, long day. "On the way home, I stop at the Hannam grocery to pick up some bulgogi to cook . . . . As I drive home, I sense the calm beauty of the dark city. The air smells almost sweet as it blows through my car."
Careful, Council Member Garcetti. It could be a hydrogen leak. Posted 6/1/2004
Postscript: Alas, Eric Garcetti's online diary has been taken down, so you can't enjoy it. (You can read a report about it in an L.A. website by clicking here.) Perhaps our comments caused him some embarrassment. Otherwise, we did him no harm. How do we know? Because in 2013, Council Member Garcetti was elected . . . mayor of Los Angeles.
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