Guerrero: L.A. needs a new generation of Latino leaders
The Los Angeles City Council has just a month to get things straight. It has to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose two terms are the longest in the history of the city.
But it also has to replace the councilmembers who preceded him, whom most expect to be replaced by members with no experience in urban affairs.
The council has said it will not confirm any new members. Garcetti, who says he’ll resign if the council votes to kick him out, seems confident that he’ll have a job no matter what.
Mayor Garcetti is leaving — he says he has to run for Senate, but he’s leaving anyway — and the city’s political future is up in the air.
What happens to L.A. could have the biggest impact on the future of immigration reform in the nation.
That’s in part because President Obama and congressional Republicans have been talking about curtailing deportations. Many of the candidates for the mayor’s job are considered committed to immigration reform.
But some of the councilmembers who will fill the next two years of the four-year term seem set on going against the tide and fighting for even less immigration enforcement.
I first met the councilmembers that I’m writing about last year at a conference in the Bay Area. At the end of a series of workshops, many of the attendees were given their “best case” scenario for the future of Los Angeles.
They expected much of the city to be gentrified and become a hip and increasingly Latino destination for tech workers. Los Angeles has become a magnet for companies that are moving into the world’s biggest high-tech market. They predicted a lot of traffic jams when it comes to the completion of a massive new Metro Rail line to Long Beach.
The only real downside to the workshop participants’ future visions was their general consensus that “the city doesn’t care about immigrants here to live and work. Los Angeles doesn’t see them as a city problem.”
In short, it doesn’t expect it to grow.
That’s a problem, because L.A. has the