We hear that Garcetti plans to stay on as mayor until he is confirmed.
If confirmed in the Senate, Garcetti’s departure would create a vacancy in the city’s highest office. His term expires on December 11, 2022.
According to the city charter, the City Council could appoint a person to fill the position through the end of the term. It also could call a special election to fill the vacancy through the end of the term and appoint someone to hold the office temporarily until that special election’s results are certified.
Pending any appointment or election of a new mayor, the City Council President Nury Martinez would act as mayor. She reportedly has been weighing whether to run for mayor in next year’s election, joining a race that already includes Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Attorney Mike Feuer.
In a statement, Garcetti said: “I have committed my life to service –– as an activist, as a teacher, as a naval officer, as a public servant, and if confirmed, next as an ambassador. Part of that commitment means that when your nation calls, you answer that call. And should I be confirmed, I’ll bring this same energy, commitment, and love for this city to my new role and will forge partnerships and connections that will help strengthen Los Angeles’ place on the world stage.”
In announcing the nomination, the White House cited Garcetti’s work on issues like climate change, expanding transportation infrastructure and securing the 2028 Summer Olympics.
Garcetti’s plans to depart his post come at an inflection point for the city, struggling with homelessness and the lingering effects of the pandemic. There are are increasing concerns of rising Covid-19 cases and the Delta variant emerges.
The mayor also could face questions at his confirmation hearing over how he has handled the case of a former adviser, Rick Jacobs, accused of sexual harassment by a member of Garcetti’s security team. The lawsuit accused Garcetti of witnessing the behavior, but he has denied it. Jacobs also has denied the sexual harassment claims.
But the lawsuit has been in the news for almost a year, and the Biden administration’s decision to move forward with the Garcetti nomination is a signal that they are confident that they have the votes in the Senate, where Democrats have a tie-breaking majority.
Garcetti was elected mayor in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. His latest term lasts for 5 1/2 years because the city elections were aligned with the November midterms.
He endorsed Biden during the 2020 primaries, and then served as a member of his vice presidential selection committee. After Biden was elected, Garcetti was viewed as a potential cabinet pick, perhaps as Secretary of Transportation, but he announced in December that he was taking his name out of consideration. “This is a time to lead, not to leave,” Garcetti said, according to the AP, as the city faced a new surge in cases of the pandemic. Others, though, speculated that the city’s troubles and the Jacobs story had diminished his cabinet chances.
Yet Garcetti’s name emerged in April as a potential ambassadorial pick, first as ambassador to Mexico, a nomination that went to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and then to India. The posting will give him foreign policy experience, something that has been largely missing from his resume were he to seek out some future job on the national stage.
Biden also announced the nominations of other figures to ambassadorial posts. One of the most prized assignments, particularly among political donors and supporters, is France. That spot is going to Denise Bauer, a former ambassador to Belgium who was the executive director of Women for Biden during the 2020 campaign. She also has roots in Los Angeles, having worked as a field producer for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles in the 1980s.
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