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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti holds open house in Van Nuys
By: Rick Orlov,   |  Email: rick.orlov@dailynews.com

VAN NUYS>> Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held his second open house on Tuesday, hearing from constituents on a variety of issues from a senior musical program to ways to increase horse riding trails.

“What I’m learning is the city as a whole is concerned with quality-of-life issues,” Garcetti said during a break in his meetings. “People from the public housing areas, you would think they are concerned with crime. But crime has been cut in half.

“What they are concerned about is the quality of life. The people in Chatsworth say the same things. What has struck me is how much people are concerned with the same issues.”

The Tuesday session, held from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., gave about 15 minutes each to people who had responded to the mayor’s open invitation to meet with him. Those he could not meet with personally were referred to aides.

“We will meet with everyone,” Garcetti said. “A lot of the issues are things I’ve heard before in my 12 years (on the City Council). Others are new. This is a place where people are coming either as a last resort or if they have a new idea.”

One of those ideas came from 81-year-old Jackie Goldberg, who calls herself the “Pink Lady” to match her hair color and who founded an organization called Senior Star Power, which stages musicals around the area.

Goldberg said she wants the mayor to get behind her plan to find a permanent home in Hollywood to create a “senior citizens Branson,” that would bring in tour buses from around the region to watch the show.

Mary Benson of the Los Angeles Equine Advisory Committee asked for Garcetti’s commitment to creating a task force to examine ways to provide more horse trails in the region and make wider use of the Angeles National Forest.

“I think it’s fantastic he is doing this at the start of his term as mayor,” Benson said. “This is a way he can prioritize what the city is doing. We recognized he can’t do everything for everybody, but he has to learn about our issues. It’s a great opportunity for a young mayor.”

Garcetti met with 11 people in person and about 40 others were referred to staff members

He said he hopes to hold similar meetings about every other month in the future to hear directly from residents.

Garcetti also is planning a neighborhood walk on Sunday in the Venice area.

“I’m telling people to be careful that the knock on the door might be from your mayor,” Garcetti said.

He also announced that he will have a staff person assigned to Van Nuys City Hall on Tuesdays through Fridays to offer direct assistance.

“I want city government to be focused on the basics, and that starts with making it more convenient for people to get the help they need,” Garcetti said.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti holds open house in Van Nuys

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