Business, neighborhoods and the future of Los Angeles were all topics on the table Thursday at the first "Talking About Los Angeles" conversation.
It featured Los Angeles City Council president and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti in an approximately hour-long sit-down moderated by Anthony Salcito of Microsoft's World Wide Public Sector organization.
"We have been one of the most unfriendly cities for business in US," Garcetti told the audience in the auditorium at the campus Technology Building.
He said city officials are now incentivized by "fees and fines."
He said he would like to, instead, see them judged on growth "metrics," like the number of new businesses they helped facilitate.
Garcetti also said improved personal relationships, reduced red tape and taxes, and strengthened neighborhoods could help attract more businesses to Los Angeles.
Pointing to Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake, Hollywood and Venice as some examples, he also said he would like to see more done to keep housing and jobs adjacent.
The conversation took place at one Los Angeles Trade Technical College, one of the city's first two-year colleges.
Garcetti stressed several times the role vocational education must play in restructuring the Los Angeles economy to where the future--and jobs--are.
Garcetti was also tough on the Los Angeles Unified School District, citing the--until recently-- 75 percent drop out rate at Belmont High School as a "failure."
He said city leaders must learn to think holistically about students in that system, and put city dollars to work where appropriate in improving the student experience.
Garcetti also faced several questions formulated by Patch readers and LATTC students during the wide-ranging conversation.
Responding to a student question, he said he would use his seat on the Metro Board to faciliate the creation of a student Metro pass.
And he pointed to his bike-friendly Council District 13 as a sign of how he would stand on the role of cycling in the city.
The next "Talking About Los Angeles" mayoral conversation will feature Jan Perry and take place May 15 at California State University Northridge.