No DWP hikes, early 405 opening, and a business tax cut

Written by
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his first state of the city address tonight, saying that the problems facing L.A. are not new – but, he said new solutions are needed.

“It is time for a modern mayor to help build a new city government, focused on four cornerstones: a well-run government, a strong economy, a high quality of life, and public safety,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti spoke for about 45 minutes in the Wallis Annenberg Building of the California Science Center at Exposition Park.

He promised not to let the L.A. Department of Water and Power raise rates this year, especially in the face of questions about what happened to $40 million in ratepayer money spent by two DWP-related non-profit foundations.

The mayor also outlined efforts to keep film and TV production jobs in L.A., and said he’s working to create more green jobs.  And, without mentioning any numbers, Garcetti to cut L.A.’s business tax.

“City Hall too often has been a place where jobs go to die, strangled by bureaucracy and indifference. Instead of solutions, businesses are met with red tape, high taxes and excuses. Simply put, you shouldn’t have to hire a lobbyist to open a business in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said.

Among other things, Garcetti also wants to speed up the full re-opening of the 405 freeway, he wants to introduce a new system of rating buildings for earthquake safety, combine the LA Police Department and LA Fire Department emergency dispatch centers, and place GPS tracking devices on every fire engine.

He also said renovations at Los Angeles International Airport would make it a world-class airport once again.

“Let me be clear – we’re going to bring rail to LAX, and we will settle for nothing less,” Garcetti said.

KCRW’s Eric Roy spoke with Gene Maddaus, politics reporter at LA Weekly, for some analysis immediately following the speech.