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Mayor Garcetti wants open, honest City Hall

July 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
L.A.'s new mayor says he wants to take a back-to-basics approach to running the city. Mayor Eric Garcetti is getting input from business leaders and residents during his first full day in office.

On his first day in office Mayor Eric Garcetti got to work on his campaign promise to focus on the city's economy.

"It was important to me to begin my first day on the job thinking about jobs," said Garcetti.

He met with small-business leaders from all over the city to discuss ways to bring in more jobs. He also laid out his plan to eliminate the city's business gross receipts tax.

"I think this is important for unions, it's important for businesses, it's important for everyday residents to make sure that we have an economic base here. Whenever a business flees Los Angeles, that costs us money," said Garcetti.

Garcetti points to new car dealers. He says because of the gross receipts tax car dealers were moving out of the city into neighboring communities such as Glendale. Last year the city eliminated the gross receipts tax for new car dealers. Several dealers moved back into the city and now officials say the money they lost from the business tax was offset by the extra sales tax.

Small-business owners say this will help them.

"I think it's common sense: If the city of L.A. is expensive to do business in, as a business owner I would study other options and consider moving somewhere else," said Catherine Chevalier, Venice Beach Chamber of Commerce.

"Businesses are just waiting to come into Los Angeles, auto businesses for one thing, and they just want to know that that cost is going to go away," said Vic Viereck, a certified public accountant.

Monday afternoon the mayor met with residents, about a dozen picked at random from thousands of requests. He says in addition to jobs and the economy he wants a city hall that will respond quickly to people's needs, and he plans to meet with groups of people monthly.

"The first things that you do: Set the tone for the culture that you'll have in your office. I want people to know I'll be accessible. I can't meet with 4 million people, but you don't have to be a campaign donor, you don't have to be a big lobbyist, you don't have to be the head of an association to meet with your mayor," said Garcetti.

Mayor Garcetti says this is the first time any mayor has done anything like meeting with members of the public on his first day in the job. He says he wants a city hall that is open and accessible.


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