How does the young and charismatic Eric Garcetti compete with the legacy of Antonio Villaraigosa – the politician who can legitimately go down in history the guy who changed L.A. from a car town to a transit town and set the table for “elegant density”?
Garcetti’s got a great opportunity here to push L.A. in the right direction. He’s a charismatic young politician who talks about this issue in a winning way – maybe the first truly urban mayor the city has ever had. He’s not saddled with the baggage of controversy that always followed Villaraigosa around and, thanks to Measure R, he doesn’t have to fight the battle to actually build the transit. Villaraigosa already won that battle for him.
What Garcetti has to do is seize the moment. Garcetti can bring his constituents along by pushing the idea that new development in L.A. must revolve around the rail transit stations – responding to emerging market demand, improving those neighborhoods, and protecting existing single-family neighborhoods all at the same time.