The People's Politician
By Vanessa Lavorato
Photographed by Dan Monick
At times, L.A.'s most viable mayoral candidate seems straight out of an episode of Portlandia. "My wife and I grow almost all of our own food," explains the former L.A. City Council President. "Chickens are in our near future," he laughs. His hipster bona fides aside, Garcetti has the serious political chops to revitalize a city afflicted by gang-related crime, world renowned pollution and a public transportation problem.
With politics in his blood (his father Gil Garcetti was District Attorney for two terms), Garcetti, 41, knows how to appeal to his constituents; the bearded and iPad-toting residents of Silver Lake, Echo Park and sections of Hollywood. The 13th district representative tweets, posts on Facebook and even launched the city's first app, Garcetti311 (working in the same vein as Mayor Bloomberg's successful 311 line) that lets Angelenos bypass political red tape and report issues such as potholes, graffiti and road kill from the palm of their hands.
The environmental advocate -- he has managed to nearly triple the number of parks within his district, author the nation's widest reaching green building ordinance and the waterway clean- up ballot initiative Proposition O -- lives in Silver Lake with his wife, Amy Elaine Wakeland, who he met at Oxford, where they were both Rhodes scholars.
Though he's already played the Mayor of Los Angeles twice on The Closer, he has a real-life race ahead of him. His main competition to replace current mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2013 are fellow City Hall officials Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry, but as the only Latino candidate in the race and a family with deep-rooted ties to L.A., the odds seem to be on his side: "I am a fourth generation Angeleno. I was born in the Valley and live in Central L.A. My family originally lived in East L.A., my dad was raised in South L.A. and my parents live on the Westside today," he says, adding, "There's not a place I go in this city where I don't have a direct connection."