Published in the Los Angeles Times
Written by Carla Hall
If you live in Venice and hear a knock on your door Saturday morning -- but weren’t expecting anyone -- well, before you close the drapes and pretend you’re not home (who knows who’s trying to sell you something?) take a look through the peephole. It might be Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on an official neighborhood walk.
It’s part of what Garcetti’s office says is a push to provide better customer service and get information about city services to residents in this sprawling city. Garcetti already held “office hours” at City Hall downtown in July and then again Tuesday at the Van Nuys City Hall. (In Van Nuys, people could sign up for one of 12 time slots over a three-hour period, but there was no guarantee you would get the ear of the mayor. Some got a staff person.)
He’s not hitting all of Venice. He’s starting at the Oakwood Recreation Center at 9:30 a.m. and spending the next two hours branching out from there.
Oakwood is an interesting enclave, diverse on many levels, and includes residents who probably do have some pressing needs that the city might be able to help them with. So he picked a good place to start.
It can’t ever hurt to have the mayor literally walking around a neighborhood, talking to people. (I mean, unless he did it every day and didn’t get any work done.) Let’s just hope it’s not too much of a dog-and-pony show, more about politicians parading around than actually listening to residents. And someone, if not the mayor himself, should be writing down what people tell him.
Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Council District 11, which includes Venice, will be along for the walk. That’s good. He should take notes too. They’ll be accompanied by a “team of volunteers.” (OK. Hope that works out.)
It would be great if Garcetti keeps this up and regularly tours the city. There are a lot of communities out there full of people who want to talk to him.
Where should he go next?