Mayor Eric Garcetti tours South LA’s District 9

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks to journalists at Powerfest South LA. Garcetti said he wants Los Angeles to register more people for health care than anywhere else in the US. Photo by Katherine Davis.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks to journalists at Powerfest South LA in 2013. | Katherine Davis

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Curren Price toured businesses and met with residents of South L.A.’s 9th District last week as part of the mayor’s efforts to examine how districts around the city tackle issues such as homelessness, employment, youth empowerment and community beautification.

“Community rebuilding doesn’t happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up,” Garcetti said on Thursday. “I want to see the best practices. I think we have a lot of momentum. The last four years before this we were playing defense because of the recession. We can get back on offense but I’m worried that there are too many people that are being left behind.”

The Vernon-Central YouthSource Center was one stop for Garcetti and Price. There, they met young people seeking jobs, some of whom used to be homeless.

Latea Davis, Senior Youth Advocate for the Vernon-Central Workplace Development Network, said the center and her own program play important roles in mentoring neighborhood youth.

“They look up to us. They talk to us. They look to us for guidance,” Davis said.

Mark Wilson, Executive Director of the Coalition for Responsible Community Development, said continued educational employment efforts are crucial to ensuring a prosperous community.

“If we can educate and employ people we start to see crime rates go down and we see homeless rate’s go down,” Wilson said. “We start to see the future of this community improve in a tremendous way.”

Garcetti said he is attempting to tour L.A’s. various council districts to better understand how different areas — and their elected representatives —address these issues in their districts. Garcetti commended the work done by councilman Price and community organizations. He praised the district’s commitment to expanding business and helping disadvantaged youth, saying these organizations should serve as models in other parts of the city.

“In the 9th there’s a very grassroots based movement,” Garcetti said. “I would like to see that replicated throughout the city. It’s not just coming here to help the 9th — but it’s what the 9th District can do to help the city too.”

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