The historic California drought, Los Angeles’ booming tech sector and an expansion of social service programs were just some of the topics covered during the State of the City address given by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at California State University, Northridge on April 14. His speech took place at the Valley Performing Arts Center in front of more than 1,600 government, business and community leaders.
CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison welcomed the mayor and guests to campus.
“We are proud to host Mayor Eric Garcetti’s State of the City address,” Harrison said. “It is especially fitting that this event is taking place in our performing arts center because this facility symbolizes CSUN’s commitment to serving, enriching and enlightening Los Angeles.
“It is also fitting because Mayor Garcetti has roots in the Valley, and we appreciate him not only as our Mayor, but as our ‘Valley Guy,’” she noted. “His decision to deliver his address here confirms the importance of the San Fernando Valley and CSUN’s own significant economic impact for the city. While we may not be in the heart of downtown L.A., we are its backbone.”
Garcetti also made allusions to the San Fernando Valley as he began the speech, recalling the historic 1994 Northridge earthquake that shook the area and CSUN. He spoke of CSUN and the city’s “unshakeable optimism” that led to their resurgences.
Another resurgence referenced by both Mayor Garcetti and Harrison is Reseda Boulevard, which runs adjacent to the west side of CSUN’s campus. Harrison commended the mayor’s inclusion of Reseda Boulevard in his Great Streets initiative and his commitment to building “a vibrant, sustainable Northridge community.”
In her opening remarks, President Harrison noted that LACI@CSUN — the productive collaboration between CSUN and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator — had launched six startups in the first seven months of its existence. In continuing the tech-emphasis, Garcetti emphasized a major push and tax breaks in the field that has led to companies like Yahoo and eHarmony to relocate their businesses to Los Angeles.
Garcetti announced that ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft will now be able to pick passengers up at LAX, something that had been forbidden under previous zoning laws, and the city will begin a data sharing partnership with the traffic app Waze.
He also highlighted initiatives that will be or have been launched, including the Clean Streets Initiative, expansion of the Summer Night Lights program and the creation of a new LAPD division that centers on relationship-based policing.
Following the address, the crowd gathered outside the VPAC on the Mike Curb Walk to enjoy samples from local produce vendors and restaurants. There also was an area promoting the mayor’s Save the Drop campaign, the executive directive on water conservation, creating strong tools to reduce water use and address the drought, including a $3.75 per square foot rebate for lawn replacement.