Mayor de­fends D. C. trip

Last- minute fed­eral meet­ings be­came the main rea­son Garcetti left L. A. ahead of the Ford rul­ing, he says.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Peter Jami­son

White House meet­ings that Mayor Eric Garcetti cited as his pri­mary rea­son for leav­ing Los An­ge­les amid demon­stra­tions over a po­lice shoot­ing of a men­tally ill black man were a last- minute ad­di­tion to his itin­er­ary for a cam­paign fundrais­ing trip, the mayor’s of­fice ac­knowl­edged this week.

Af­ter The Times re­ported that Garcetti had at­tended a re­cep­tion for his 2017 re­elec­tion ef­fort dur­ing the trip to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, the mayor said in a ra­dio in­ter­view that he “could have easily can­celed” his cam­paign event and that “it was not the main rea­son I was go­ing.”

By con­trast, he said he could not miss the op­por­tu­nity to seek fed­eral fund­ing for home­less­ness pro­grams, even if he had to leave town as the city’s Po­lice Com­mis­sion pre­pared to rule on whether the con­tro­ver­sial shoot­ing was jus­ti­fied.

In re­sponse to fur­ther ques­tions about Garcetti’s

travel plans, how­ever, may­oral spokesman Jeff Mill­man said the meet­ings with Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials were not ar­ranged un­til Sun­day, June 7 — the day be­fore Garcetti f lew to Washington. The mayor’s cam­paign staff had re­served the f lights sev­eral days ear­lier, Mill­man said.

Garcetti con­firmed in an in­ter­view Fri­day that “we had a fundraiser sched­uled f irst.” But he said the White House meet­ings, once they were ar­ranged on the eve of his trip, be­came the top pri­or­ity. “By the time I left, the pri­mary rea­son I per­son­ally was go­ing was for the White House meet­ings — ab­so­lutely,” he said. As for the fundraiser, he added, “We had the money all do­nated, pretty much. I didn’t need to phys­i­cally go there. I de­cided to go there. It was no longer the pri­mary rea­son that I was go­ing there.”

Crit­ics said Garcetti chose an in­op­por­tune time to leave the city be­cause of con­cerns about pos­si­ble un­rest in the days af­ter top Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cials de­ter­mined that the fa­tal shoot­ing of 25- year- old Ezell Ford was in line with depart­ment pol­icy.

The Po­lice Com­mis­sion ul­ti­mately ruled dif­fer­ently, f ind­ing that one of the two of­fi­cers who shot Ford was not jus­ti­fied in us­ing deadly force. The mayor re­turned to L. A. early on the morn­ing of the rul­ing, and wide­spread protests over the case never ma­te­ri­al­ized. But Garcetti still faced ques­tions about whether he had mis­rep­re­sented the rea­sons for his June 8 trip.

Harold Ickes, a for­mer Pres­i­dent Clin­ton aide known for rais­ing large sums of money for Demo­cratic can­di­dates, told The Times that he hosted a cam­paign re­cep­tion for Garcetti at his Georgetown home. The mayor’s two White House meet­ings, with se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials Shaun Dono­van and Jerry Abram­son, took place be­fore that and to­gether took up about an hour, ac­cord­ing to may­oral aides.

Nei­ther the mayor nor his staff ini­tially dis­closed the fundraiser, de­spite re­peated ques­tions from re­porters and ac­tivists about his trip. In­stead, Garcetti said he had left L. A. be­cause he needed to ask fed­eral of­fi­cials for money to house the home­less and to share with them in­for­ma­tion about pro­gres­sive L. A. polic­ing ini­tia­tives.

“I will never stop go­ing to Washington for the rea­sons that I was there,” he said at a news con­fer­ence on Tues­day, June 9, when he re­turned on an overnight f light. “I’ll con­tinue f ight­ing for this city.” He had of­fered a sim­i­lar jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to protesters who tried to stop his car on the way to the air­port Mon­day morn­ing.

Dur­ing Fri­day’s in­ter­view, Garcetti de­fended his pre­vi­ous ex­pla­na­tions of the trip. He said he had re­vealed the White House meet­ings but not the fundraiser to protesters out­side his home be­cause they were in­ter­ested in crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form.

“Part of the rea­son I’m go­ing on this trip was in line with what they were con­cerned about,” he said. “I don’t feel I have to share with ev­ery­body ev­ery­thing that I do. When asked, ab­so­lutely and openly, I will tell peo­ple ev­ery­thing that I do pro­fes­sion­ally, from the po­lit­i­cal side or the pol­icy side.”

Last week­end, ad­dress­ing fel­low elected of­fi­cials in San Fran­cisco, Garcetti of­fered another char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the trip that omit­ted his cam­paign ac­tiv­i­ties.

Speak­ing at the an­nual meet­ing of the U. S. Con­fer­ence of May­ors about how his ad­min­is­tra­tion uses data and tech­nol­ogy, Garcetti said he headed to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal af­ter he no­ticed a spike in the num­ber of home­less vet­er­ans in L. A. on a smart­phone app he uses to mon­i­tor city pro­grams.

“When I looked at that last week, I said, ‘ I gotta get to D. C.,’” Garcetti said in the speech Sun­day. “Got on a plane, sat down with Shaun Dono­van — the di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get — say­ing, ‘ We need more money. You need our help, we need yours.’”

‘ I don’t feel I have to share with ev­ery­body ev­ery­thing that I do. When asked, ab­so­lutely and openly, I will tell peo­ple ev­ery­thing that I do pro­fes­sion­ally....’

— Mayor Eric Garcetti

Black Lives Mat­ter Los An­ge­les

OUT­SIDE HIS HOME on June 8, Mayor Eric Garcetti ex­plains to protesters why he was trav­el­ing to Washington, D. C., on the eve of the L. A. Po­lice Com­mis­sion’s re­view of the fa­tal LAPD shoot­ing of Ezell Ford.

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