'Talking About Los Angeles' Works To Create Transparency And Discussion For Los Angeles Voters
Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti sat down Thursday at Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC) to respond to questions about the state of education, job growth and housing in Los Angeles.
The conversation is the first part of a new series, "Talking About Los Angeles," which will feature the five different candidates running for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013.
Garcetti began by praising Los Angeles’ culture, geographic position and foundation. He then said that there is much that needs to be improved in the city of Los Angeles, namely education.
“I would agree that our education system still fails most of our children,” Garcetti said, citing a school in his district where 50 percent of the students are not graduating.
In an effort to improve Los Angeles schools, Garcetti brought up the benefits that competition between Charter schools and public schools have fueled to advance the education system. He also said that the public schools' teaching hierarchy, namely seniority, needs to be examined.
When asked about business in Los Angeles, Garcetti also sees a need for change. “It is fair to say our city is unfriendy for business,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti wants to make things more “business friendly” in Los Angeles by building personal relationships with businesses by getting rid of red tape and taxes, like the gross receipt taxes placed on a company whether or not it makes a profit.
Garcetti also wants to make Los Angeles more friendly to its residents. He believes that in making neighborhoods more self-contained, people will not have to drive outside of their communities to run errands which will also reduce traffic.
He also wants to work on creating more affordable housing for Los Angeles residents by lobbying for housing tax credits. These credits would allow workers to stay closer to their jobs and families.
For students like Roscou Mukofu, who is working towards his Associates Degree at LATTC, a concern for his educational funding brought him to the discussion. He was glad to hear Garcetti put a strong emphasis on the importance of community college and vocational schooling at the start of his speech when he discussed education.
“Right now I hear financial aid is being slashed, the budget for the classes are being slashed and the tuition is going up,” Mukofu said.
Mukofu said he is worried about the budget cuts to his education. Thanks to a Board of Governors fee waiver that subsidized his course units, he was able to start working part-time. He is afraid that if a program like that is cut, he will have to go back to working full-time, spending less time on his academics.
“I’m a good student, I don’t want that,” he said.
Ken Reid, the LATTC student government vice president was also in attendance. He came for more information about the potential mayor of Los Angeles. “We want to see how Mr. Garcetti would help us if he’s elected mayor. We’re trying to get informed on who he is and what he stands for.”
“Ultimately we’re the ones who will decide if they’re in or not. We need more dialogue like this. I think we need to get all of the candidates in the same room to fuel debate,” Reid said.
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