Mayor Garcetti Is Using Technology to Redefine His Office and the City
After only three months in office, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is busy redefining what it means to be a big city Mayor in the 21st century and technology is at the center of this effort with major initiatives in cybersecurity and broadband.
Garcetti, however, is not a technocrat who is detached from the grit of everyday city life. Garcetti follows in the tradition of the great big city mayors who submerged themselves in the daily chaos of city life, but he uses technology to
- connect with his constituents (he is a master of social media and was the first caller on the post-game radio show after the Dodgers dramatic victory in the National League divisional series);
- improve the quality of city services; and
- create opportunity.
One of his first trips outside of Los Angeles was to join New York’s outgoing Mayor Bloomberg to attend CityLab a tech summit geared at improving city governance
Upon returning, Mayor Garcetti issued a directive creating a Cyber Command Center for the city, Garcetti explained:
One of my top priorities is to make sure that we bring our city government into the digital age. New technology can make City Hall run cheaper, faster, more efficiently. But if we don’t do it right … critical city services that we provide are vulnerable through viruses, hacking, privacy invasions and security breaches.
The command center would coordinate the computer networks for the city which, with the nation’s busiest port, largest municipal utility and one of its busiest airport, is a prime target for a terrorist strike.
The Mayor’s biggest tech initiative is to make Los Angeles a Gigabit City in what Ars Technica calls “one of the most ambitious city-led broadband projects to date.” (See below for details). The Mayor and City Council have agreed to move forward on a Request for Proposal to develop a citywide broadband network for residential and business use that would provide free broadband up to 5Mbp and then tiered pricing for higher speeds up to a Gigabit. If implemented, it would make Los Angeles equal to the ultra-broadband deployed in cities such as Chattanooga and Kansas City which are the fastest in the nation. As currently discussed, the cost of the build-out would be borne by the vendor.
Garcetti also wants to brand Los Angels as a tech center.
L.A.’s creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and prized resources, such as local universities and the entertainment industry, are what make this city one of the top start-up friendly ecosystems in the world. We have a great opportunity to further support technology investment in the region by branding Los Angeles as the place for high-growth tech.
Garcetti will be the keynote speaker on Thursday at the inaugural LA Tech Summit. This one-day event will bring together some of the industry’s leading executives, entrepreneurs and professionals to share insights on what it takes to build a successful technology company in Los Angeles.