population that exceeds 58,000 people in the county.
It also makes it increasingly difficult for the city to
attract the new businesses necessary to drive the
region’s economic growth. These problems are not
unique to L.A., of course. Seattle is experiencing
similar challenges. But what is particular to Los
Angeles is its dynamic mayor, Eric Garcetti, and he
has made solving the housing situation his number-one priority.
“People and jobs can come to a city relatively
quickly,” Garcetti says. “In a couple of weeks, you can
open up a new business. But housing takes years to be
If Garcetti didn’t actually exist, Aaron Sorkin
might have created him. A charismatic 47-year-old
Mexican-American and Jewish graduate of Columbia
University and former Rhodes Scholar, he pursued a
PhD at the London School of Economics, became a
lieutenant in the Navy Reserve, and plays jazz piano.
He is a native Angeleno whose father, Gil Garcetti,
served as Los Angeles district attorney during the
O.J. Simpson trial. A natural technophile, Garcetti is
active on Snapchat, inspired an art exhibit with his
Instagram account, and once announced the closure
of a freeway with a music video, the “#101SlowJam.”
When he took office, in 2013, as the youngest person
ever elected to the position, one of his first steps
was to calculate the city’s housing deficit and set an
ambitious goal for the number of new units needed
to begin to meet demand— 100,000 by 2021. It was
something that the L. A. municipal government hadn’t
done before. “How can you not have a housing goal
for a city where that’s the biggest issue?” he says.