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Eric Garcetti becomes Los Angeles' first Jewish mayor

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 23rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Forty-two-year-old Eric Garcetti in winning the Los Angeles mayoral race has become the city's first elected Jewish mayor. His opponent, Wendy Greuel, was hoping to become the city's first female mayor. Garcetti, a former city councilman received 54 percent of the 337,000 votes cast; Greuel got the other 46 percent, figures from the city clerk's office show.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - "Thank you Los Angeles -- the hard work begins but I am honored to lead this city for the next four years," Garcetti tweeted. "Let's make this a great city again."

Greuel called Garcetti to offer her congratulations. Greuel later posted a message on her Web site thanking volunteers and those who voted for her. "I may not have been able to break through the glass ceiling last night," the 51-year-old Greuel said, "but you sure helped me put a crack in it and because of your work, the next woman candidate in my shoes will crash right through it."

Controller for the nation's second-largest city, Greuel says she is "determined to continue fighting for all Angelinos, to cut waste and increase efficiency, and above all, to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe."

The new mayor is of mixed heritage. Garcetti's mother is Jewish, and his father, Gil, the former district attorney whose office lost in the O.J. Simpson murder trial in the 1990s, is of Mexican and Italian descent.

"I always felt myself to be Jewish and Latino very comfortably," Garcetti told the Jewish Journal. "Weekends were both filled with bowls of menudo and lots of bagels."

While Garcetti is the first elected mayor of Jewish descent, the Los Angeles Times notes that L.A. had an acting mayor for a couple of weeks who was Jewish. Bernard Cohn, an appointee, served briefly in 1878 after the elected mayor died. In addition, California had a Jewish governor, Washington Bartlett, in 1887.

Garcetti is also the first Los Angeles mayor who can accurately claim that he "commandeered a snowmobile at the North Pole while on a climate-change fact-finding mission and located Salma Hayek's lost purse in the frozen tundra," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Antonio Villaraigosa, the city's first Latino mayor in more than 130 years, is stepping down after eight years because of term limits.

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