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Eric Garcetti takes over as Los Angeles mayor

June 30, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eric Garcetti will take the oath of office Sunday to become Los Angeles’ 42nd mayor, with a promise to do the basic things right while getting the city’s economy rolling again.

The 42-year-old Ivy League graduate, the city’s first elected Jewish mayor, often talks of the simple pleasures of growing up in the city’s San Fernando Valley — little league baseball, riding bikes and eating ice cream — officially takes over the job leading a sprawling city of nearly 4 million people on July 1.

He replaces fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, 60, who exits after two terms during which he pushed to improve schools and expand rail lines in a city notoriously choked by cars.

The new mayor takes charge of a city with problems all too familiar: knotted freeways, an unemployment rate hovering around double digits, many struggling schools, battered roadways.

Garcetti has said he will focus on the economy “like a laser beam” and try to recover jobs lost in the recession. His goals range from getting all city workers to contribute to costly health care to dealing with long-standing gripes about potholes and cracked sidewalks.

“We have to fix the basic things,” he says.

His background reflects the city’s diversity: he often refers to his Italian and Mexican roots. Garcetti has a temperate, wonky style — he was a Rhodes Scholar, after attending Columbia University — that will be a change from Villaraigosa, who was known for his outsized personality and ability to make headlines about his nightlife and dating.

It also will be a generational change. Garcetti is just a few years older than Villaraigosa’s eldest daughter.

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