Oh yeah — we did. Along with the rest of Los Angeles. (Excluding the “WalMart of News,” apparently.)

But Hollywood Patch finally caught Eric Garcetti kinda sorta saying it out loud at a neighborhood council meeting last night, at the end of a speech about why the city should sell off its parking structures — finally dropping the charade and kinda sorta declaring his official bid for mayor.

But not quite. We believe the words he used were: “seriously leaning.”

Whatever. Here are all the ways we knew Garcetti was eying the prize from the beginning:

1) As City Council President, he kick-started an extremely creepy trend of referring to the City Council and its city employee-lings as the “city family.” In that scenario, current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is most certainly the unpopular rich uncle who everyone keeps close for his coffers — and Garcetti's got the “city father” role on lock. You really think the council is like-minded enough to vote unanimously 99.993 percent of the time? Nah. It takes some good hard sweet-talking behind closed doors to achieve that kind of magical mind-reading chumminess, meeting after meeting, vote in and vote out.

2) Speaking of Villaraigosa's frenemies, Garcetti is No. 1. He'll ass-kiss in public, then declare off the record to anyone who'll listen that he truly can't stand the guy. This facade maintains the popular-kid feel — with respect for his elders, to boot! — and hopefully earns him a piece of the mayor's notorious flair for fundraising. Now if only Garcetti were a little browner, he'd have the Villaraigosa endorsement in no time.

3) His term limit looms in 2013. And where else would a friendly politicking dude with a baby face straight outta Hollywood go but up?

4) That baby face. Combined with the smoothest politi-speak this side of the White House, Garcetti is a master of stirring emotion and cooperation and resolve, without ever really having to do anything at all. It's beautiful. Listen to his chiseled jawline flap for 10 minutes, and you come away feeling like a million bucks — with no fucking clue what you just talked about. Other than, you know, he was probably right. Take the Patch article, for instance:

Although numerous WCC members were openly skeptical of the wisdom of last week's parking garage vote, afterwards expressed thanks that Garcetti chose to address the group and said they were impressed with his remarks.

“He had nice things to say. It's great he came out on such short notice to speak with us and hear our ideas,” said board member Carole Magnuson.

5) Like Mayor Villaraigosa before him, Garcetti is now the King of Potholes. He even gets his hands dirty in the field, wearing nothing but an orange construction vest — constituents are left with no choice but to feel, in a word, adorable.

6) When the LA Times, a few years into Garcetti's mayorhood, finally catches on that he's turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, Gotham City can be like: We told you he would suck.

7) His campaign T-shirts are practically ready for distribution — just magic-marker that C into a G and we're golden.

8) This one's the dead giveaway: Garcetti played the part of L.A. mayor on LAPD drama “The Closer” last fall. OK, so his real-life father is consulting producer for the show, but we're sure he earned the part fair and square. Just like the part he'll “earn” next election…

Here's the kinda sorta announcement from the mayor-in-waiting (if Jan Perry doesn't get there first):

Garcetti also acknowledged he is “seriously leaning” towards [sic, LOL] running for mayor and will announce a decision in the next six to eight months after talking it over with his family, he said after fielding questions on the garage vote and other topics for over an hour.

“The earlier I say yes, the harder it will be for me to govern in my current role,” Garcetti said of the position he's held for the past 2 1/2 years. He is the longest-serving councilmember, with 10 years on the panel.

You mean your family family? Or rich unpopular uncle family? No, but we kid. Please do keep teasing the press with these half-bids, Garcetti — it's a speculative riot from where we're sitting.

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