Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti took the Democratic National Convention stage in Philadelphia Thursday to voice his support for Hillary Clinton, who he said will improve life in American cities.

Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine bask in DNC spotlight. Photo by Chris Stone
Garcetti said “local leaders” like himself are supporting the Democratic presidential nominee because she will get down to brass tacks, instead of merely putting on a show.

“America’s cities don’t have time for theatrics,” he said. “America’s cities have urgent problems to solve.”

Garcetti pointed to efforts by municipalities to repair “crumbling infrastructure,” and said that Los Angeles has led the country in increasing the minimum wage to $15 and banning high-capacity gun magazines.

Whereas Clinton has brought ideas to raise the minimum wage and other issues important to cities, Trump “has no vision for our country,” he said.

Garcetti were among several speakers to make remarks leading up to Clinton’s nomination acceptance speech.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who chaired the previous DNC, returned to speak in support of Clinton, who he said has a plan to help an estimated 11 million immigrants who do not have the proper documentation remain in America.

A 3-year-old girl witnesses history at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Photo by Chris Stone
“We have always been stronger when we integrate, not segregate, when we join hands and work together to solve our challenges,” he said.

The country will be “stronger when we elect a woman who has fought for the forgotten children, given voice to the unrepresented … a woman who fought for health care for all, and who will fix a broken immigration system,” Villaraigosa said. “A woman who will tear down a wall and build a bridge to a great generous America that we all know and love.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and labor leader Dolores Huerta were also part of the speaking lineup. Former Laker superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was also set to to take the stage, followed by Reps. Ted Lieu and Xavier Becerra, both of Los Angeles.

Garcetti said earlier this week he wanted to use his speech to help steer conversations from just responding to Republican candidate Donald Trump to addressing what the candidates will actually do if elected.

He also said last week that he planned to address the feeling of alienation that many Americans feel toward their government.

“My message is that I think Americans right now feel shut out by government,” he said. “They feel like Washington won’t vote on immigration reform, won’t take up infrastructure to rebuild our crumbling streets, won’t do the things that the majority of Americans would want.”

Garcetti said he traveled to Philadelphia to represent mayors and other city officials who do not have the luxury “to play politics.”

“We actually have to do things here, so that’s why we have tens of thousands of people who we are making citizens,” he said. “That’s why we’re rebuilding our port, our airport, paving our streets and our sidewalks. And for me, you know, that’s what we need in our next leader, not somebody who is going to find a common enemy, but find a common purpose.”

Garcetti, who has been at the convention since Monday, is one of several major-city mayors invited to address DNC attendees, along with the mayors of Atlanta, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit and Tallahassee.

Garcetti said during a Tuesday panel discussion on Latino political participation that recognizing the power of the Latino vote is not enough. Latinos need to be appointed to top-level positions in the next presidential administration, and not just to positions focusing on immigration and labor, he said.

With appointments made under the recent two Democratic presidential administrations, “there’s like this ceiling,” he said. “We have to figure out a way to make that very clear … when President Clinton, the next President Clinton is in place, that you know, a cabinet position or two isn’t enough.”

Garcetti added that those who have the power to make the appointments often complain there are not enough qualified Latinos for the positions, but he feels they are not searching hard enough.

“I think they’re looking for Latinos with big names,” said Garcetti, whose paternal grandfather was born in Mexico. “Latinos don’t have big names, and so it becomes a vicious cycle.”

Garcetti on Monday took part in a news conference with labor groups to promote raising the minimum wage and attended a luncheon of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

He was also scheduled to attend a breakfast hosted by the California delegation and take part in a panel on the use of guns in hate crimes.

–City News Service 

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