Most Voters Approve of Eric Garcetti, Whoever That Is

Photo by Ted Soqui
Gotta love L.A. voters. A new poll out today shows that most voters approve of the job that Eric Garcetti is doing as mayor. But at the same time, most also have yet to form a firm impression of him as a person. In other words: You're doing a good job, whoever you are.

The poll, from the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., pegs Garcetti's approval rating at 56 percent. But a majority -- 55 percent -- also say that they don't know Garcetti well enough to have an opinion about him.

One hundred days into his administration, Garcetti still has some work to do to introduce himself.

The poll continues a pattern seen during the mayoral campaign. While voters generally had positive views of Garcetti (and, for that matter, of his opponent, Wendy Greuel), those views were not deeply held. That meant that those favorable views could change fairly quickly.

The PBI poll, posted below, also shows that voters' first concern remains jobs and the economy. No surprise there -- and that also happens to be the top priority of the Garcetti administration.

But what is interesting is that the second-highest concern is traffic and overcrowding. That poses a potential problem for Garcetti, because his solution to the first problem could very well make the second problem worse.

Garcetti is looking for a "transformational executive" to lead his economic policy. As we reported last week, that person's duties will include meeting with developers and lobbyists to "expedite housing and economic development projects." As voters well know, more housing equals more cars.

Garcetti's transportation agenda seems to consist of building more rail lines, including one through the Sepulveda Pass. But he doesn't really have any policies for easing congestion, as he all but admitted when he floated the idea of asking the general public to solve gridlock in exchange for a $1 million prize.

In fact, Garcetti seems to share a bit of the urbanist philosophy that roads should be used for just about anything except driving. He wants CicLAvia to be a monthly affair. He closed off a street in Silver Lake to create a park. And he even held office hours in a parking space. That's not to say any of those things on their own are bad ideas, but it adds up to an impression that traffic is not one of the mayor's top concerns.

Coincidentally, mall developer Rick Caruso is out there today saying that traffic should be at the top of the agenda.

"If Eric Garcetti figures out the traffic problem, he'll be king of the world," Caruso told L.A. Magazine.

Caruso delights in flirting with the idea of running for mayor, and he would be a formidable opponent if he ran against Garcetti in 2017. But he might be just about the worst candidate to run on the issue of traffic and development.

After all, have you ever tried to get into the Grove on a holiday weekend?

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