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May 2013 - Eric Garcetti, First L.A. Mayor of Jewish Heritage, Elected

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Mayor Eric Garcetti swearing in at his inauguration
Mayor Eric Garcetti swearing in at his inauguration. | Photo: Mayor of Los Angeles/Flickr/Creative Commons License

On May 21, 2013, Angelenos elected Eric Garcetti, the first Los Angeles Mayor of Jewish heritage. The three-term city councilmember defeated former city controller and city council colleague Wendy Greuel -- the first female mayoral candidate in a general election, albeit one that produced a record-low voter turnout of 23.35 percent.

A fourth-generation Angeleno who grew up in Encino, Garcetti studied at Columbia University and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and taught at Occidental College and USC before being elected to the L.A. City Council in 2001. Described by some as a "Renaissance Man," Garcetti is also a naval reserve officer, an accomplished jazz pianist, and socializes with the likes of talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and electronic musician Moby.

Coincidentally, Garcetti's Jewish heritage also joins that of City Attorney Mike Feuer's, as well as that of City Controller Ron Galperin's, the first time L.A.'s triumvirate of citywide elected offices were represented by Jewish Americans.

But true to Los Angeles' diverse demographics, Garcetti is also of a mixed ethnic background, combining his mother's Russian Jewish ancestry with the Mexican and Italian roots of his father, former L.A. County District Attorney Gil Garcetti.

As the city's first Generation X mayor, Garcetti has long embraced technology and social media, and his use of Twitter was not only instrumental in the success of his mayoral bid, but lives on in the use of the "#lamayor" hashtag as well as other social media tags used for generating constituent engagement.

Having served his first year in office, Garcetti has focused on a "Back To Basics" ethos of providing city services, working to reform the scandal-ridden L.A. Department of Water and Power, and advocating for the revitalization of the L.A. River.

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