L.A. Mayor Garcetti Says He’s Not Joining Biden Administration

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s had discussions with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team about a role in the new administration, but he won’t be leaving his current job.

“I promised you all at the beginning of this pandemic that I and your city government will never stop working for you,” Garcetti said Thursday night at a press conference. “In this, our toughest moment, that still remains true.”

Los Angeles County has set records this week for new Covid-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

The Democratic mayor declined to say whether any specific cabinet positions were discussed. His name has been floated for roles such as transportation secretary, which Biden just filled by nominating former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden early this month named Garcetti one of five co-chairs for his inaugural committee.

Garcetti, who is serving his second term, said he would still advise the new administration, with the perspective of a big city mayor.

“As the administration reached out to me about serving I let them know earlier this week that my city needs me now and that I want to be here and I need to be here,” Garcetti said.

The mayor made the comments by telephone from his residence in Los Angeles. He said he and his wife, Amy Wakeland, are quarantining there for 10 days because their 9-year-old daughter, Maya, tested positive for the virus. His daughter is doing fine, with mild symptoms, he added, and both Garcetti and his wife have tested negative.

“Our family is incredibly careful and what’s happening in our home this week is playing out across Los Angeles and this country,” he said.

Garcetti’s challenges in Los Angeles go beyond the coronavirus pandemic. He’s been widely criticized for not doing enough to solve the city’s persistent homeless crisis. His office is also wrestling with ascandal involving alleged sexual harassment by one of his aides.

The mayor said he’s already lost a cousin to the virus. Maya’s positive test especially brought the pandemic home.

“To see the tears in your own daughter’s eyes,” he said. “My greatest title is not mayor, it’s Daddy.”

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