City Hall Report Card

Los Angeles Times editorial writers discuss project to hold public officials accountable in Jan. 20 seminar

Mariel Garza and Robert Greene

Los Angeles Times editorial writers Mariel Garza and Robert Greene will speak at UCR on Jan. 20, 2016.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Los Angeles Times editorial writers Mariel Garza and Robert Greene will discuss “Grading City Hall: Holding Local Officials Accountable” on Jan. 20, 2016, at UC Riverside.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and is part of the ongoing Randall Lewis Seminar Series presented by the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development. The seminar will be held at the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), 1084 Columbia Ave., Riverside. It is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested as seating is limited and may be made online or by calling (951) 827-7830.

Garza and Greene will discuss the Los Angeles Times project that grades top city officials in five categories: leadership, effectiveness, vision, transparency, and political courage. The goal of the newspaper’s report card was threefold: To engage city residents; to lay out the key issues facing the city of Los Angeles and California; and to hold politicians accountable. Are they keeping their campaign promises? Have they delivered on their rhetoric? Do they tackle the city’s fundamental problems or do they duck controversy in favor of safe or politically popular stances? Are they focused on the monumental problems at hand or on their next elections and their own careers?

“It’s been two years since Eric Garcetti became mayor of Los Angeles,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote in August in explaining the project. “His election was part of a changing of the guard in City Hall that also saw the arrival of a new controller and city attorney, as well as seven new City Council members. The challenges that faced them were enormous. Los Angeles may still be big, beautiful and alluring to many, but its problems — rampant homelessness and inadequate public transportation, buckling sidewalks and underperforming schools, mind-numbing traffic and simmering racial tension — are legendary.”

Leading an urban metropolis such as Los Angeles is a hard job, the newspaper said. “No single elected official should be expected to untie the knots of bureaucracy, reverse decades of under-investment in infrastructure or end income inequality in two years. But politicians will do a better job if they are held to high standards.”

Greene and Garza will explain how and why the Los Angeles Times published this report, and why holding local officials accountable for their promises and actions, or inactions, is important to ensuring good governance at City Hall.

Garza has been writing editorials and columns about state and Los Angeles politics for more than a decade. Before joining The Times’ editorial board in March 2015, she was deputy editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee. She is a former editor of the editorial pages of the L.A. Daily News and Los Angeles News Group. Garza is a graduate of San Francisco State University.

Greene is an editorial writer covering water, drought, criminal justice reform and Los Angeles County government. He previously was a staff writer for the L.A. Weekly and was a reporter and associate editor for the Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was an attorney in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Georgetown University Law School.

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Established in 2003, the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development (CSSD) explores the social, economic, political and environmental impacts that population growth and movement has on cities and local communities. Housed in the School of Public Policy, the center facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations in the community through its staff and affiliated faculty via research, joint conferences, workshops and public forums held at UCR and in the community.

The Randall Lewis Seminar Series is an ongoing program of the CSSD generously funded by Randall Lewis, executive vice president of Upland-based Lewis Operating Cos. The seminars focus on a wide range of regional sustainability topics such as air and water resources, infrastructure and transportation planning, affordable housing and the fiscal health of cities.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Ron Redfern
Tel: (951) 750-4976
E-mail: iR3.rredfern@gmail.com

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