Yesterday morning, City Councilman Eric Garcetti became the mayor-elect of Los Angeles. Two weeks ago, Garcetti visited Zócalo’s green room and answered questions that no other journalists ventured to ask, including what he would do for Zócalo. Here is what he said:
What was your first car?
It was a Ford Torino wagon, white with wooden trim. It was the station wagon I grew up in—I don’t want to say I was born in. It was sold by my parents when they upgraded to a Caprice Classic station wagon, and then they bought it back from the guy they sold it to, to give to me as my first car.
Obama said he has only two colors of suits, gray and blue, in order to eliminate choices. What suit colors do you have?
Oh my gosh. I’ve got blue suits, I have gray suits, I have black suits. And I believe I have, like, a brown suit. Twice as many choices but half as many suits.
What animal fills you with terror?
I think it’s the chupacabra. I don’t know if it’s out there, but if it is, that frightens the heck out of me.
What has been the most bruising campaign you’ve ever experienced personally?
The first campaign that was the most bruising, and highly unsuccessful, was to create veloways with my uncle. They would have been bicycle lanes along the freeways. Probably would have been a really bad idea for asthma and health to have bike lanes alongside five-lane freeways. But it was bruising. I almost never recovered. It’s a wonder I’m in politics.
How often does your father, former Los Angeles district attorney Gil Garcetti, get correspondence intended for you?
All the time. My dad gets requests for potholes to be filled.
Does he pass them on?
Yes. Now he’s just getting to the point where he’s getting introduced as “dad of” rather than me being introduced as “son of.”
What do you do to clear your mind?
Play the piano.
What was your worst subject in school?
Drawing, for sure. Just terrible.
Can you assess Mayor Villaraigosa’s tenure in 140 characters or less?
Would you like me to type it? [Takes interviewer’s laptop and types the following:]
Dared to dream, made us safer, investing in young people and set the bar high. Will go down as one of the best.
What’s hanging on your living room walls?
A lot of family pictures. A collection of children’s sketches for the campaign, like campaign posters. We don’t even ask for them; they just keep coming. And a TV that hardly gets watched.
Most important final question: If you’re elected mayor, what can you do for Zócalo?
What can Zócalo do for me? All kidding aside, I’ve always been a huge Zócalo fan. I believe civic conversation needs to be elevated. You’ve been doing it, but you will have a partner at City Hall. But all Zócalo employees must still pay their tickets.