By Aaron Blevins, 2/07/2013
Garcetti delivers final State of Hollywood address
During his 12th and final State of Hollywood address, Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, 13th District, proclaimed that the home of the entertainment industry is on an “irreversible path of progress.”
Hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the event offered Garcetti one last opportunity to address the chamber as its city councilman. He is termed out after this year, and is currently campaigning for mayor.
“Hollywood is back,” Garcetti said. “We are safer. We are stronger. We are cleaner. We are the most diverse place on the face of the Earth. …Even in these tough times, Hollywood is seeing more investment than it has seen in four decades. The state of Hollywood, my friends, is strong, irreversible and on the path to continuing to do great things.”
His proof: violent crime is down two-thirds, to the levels they were six decades ago; last year was a record tourism year for Los Angeles, thanks, in part, to Hollywood; and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce recently ranked the 13th District as the No. 1 district in terms of job growth.
Garcetti said that progress stands in direct contrast to the state of Hollywood in the 1980s, when “decades of decline, crime and grime” led to empty storefronts on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“It was a national joke, infamous for prostitution and drug-dealing. Today, Hollywood is once again a place of opportunity,” he said, adding that the area offers opportunities for small businesses, big businesses, its major industries, residents looking for a safe place to live and people who are down on their luck. “People are coming to Hollywood because this is the heart of the city once again. …Hollywood is a place where dreams still come true.”
Garcetti cited some of the projects that were completed in Hollywood in 2012, such as the East Cahuenga Alley, a pedestrian alley between Hollywood Boulevard and Selma Avenue; and Oscar Outdoors, movie screenings put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“While the rest of the country and the city is back on its heels, we’re doing better than before the recession even started,” he added.
The councilman also noted the completion of homeless housing projects, such as the La Kretz Villas and the Villas at Gower, and other efforts to aid the homeless, like Hollywood 4WRD.
“We have grown, my friends, but we have grown with a conscience,” Garcetti said.
He mentioned administrative actions, particularly by his council office, that also benefitted Hollywood. Garcetti praised the city’s first valet parking ordinance, which he introduced along with Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District. He also praised a smart phone application that was launched to help residents find parking.
“We will continue to solve problems,” Garcetti added.
He said Hollywood’s success was demonstrated by the “seamless” transition from the Kodak Theatre to the Dolby Theatre. Garcetti said it showed the level of confidence the academy has in Hollywood.
“For all of Hollywood’s successes … I think we’re just getting warmed up,” he added.
Garcetti said the area — and Los Angeles in general — must continue to grow its economy. He said a rising economy helps add more police officers, which brings in more business, which brings in more revenue and helps fund more police officers and so on.
“That virtuous circle works,” Garcetti said.
He asked the chamber to keep the invitation open for him to address them next year, potentially as mayor. Garcetti said he is running for mayor because of what Hollywood has taught him.
“I want city government — not just here in Hollywood in my district, but throughout the city — to work again,” he added. “I want this town to work again.”
Garcetti reiterated his campaign pitches, saying that he wants to make it easier for businesses to open in Los Angeles, get rid of the gross receipts tax and ensure that city hall is accessible and accountable.
“The city is capable of the greatest things we’ve ever seen,” he said.
Garcetti thanked the audience, the chamber, LaBonge and other elected officials for the support during his 12 years on the council. He choked up when discussing his memories during that time, though he said his fondest are yet to come.
“Hollywood has been my inspiration,” Garcetti said. “You have been my inspiration. …Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to represent you. …Thank you for twelve years and making my life worth something great. I love you.”