Garcetti, awaiting ambassadorial nod, reflects on challenges facing city

Newsmakers host Adrienne Alpert announces retirement
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is expected to be nominated as President Biden's ambassador to India, appeared on Eyewitness Newsmakers for what will likely be his last conversation with the show as mayor, after appearing on it for years dating back to his City Council days.

It was also the last appearance for show host Adrienne Alpert, who announced her retirement after 48 years in the news business - the last 25 of them at KABC-TV.

The mayor addressed many of the pending issues that still face the city as he prepares for his possible new role.

Will the Mayor be named Ambassador to India?

There has been growing speculation that Biden will name Garcetti his U.S. Ambassador to India. When asked if he would accept the job, Garcetti would not confirm or deny it.

He remarked, "You can't not answer the phone when the president calls. Obviously the last 20 years shows that I'm dedicated to public service and I know that Los Angeles can't solve our problems on our own, from climate to even COVID locally, so I'm not being coy, I have nothing new to announce, no official nomination."

Addressing homelessness

One of the issues that continues to be a major focus in the Garcetti administration is homelessness.

The mayor says although it is challenging to find long-term solutions to the homeless crisis, the city has been making progress.

"The longer I've worked on this, I'm incredibly proud and incredibly optimistic at the things that are now finally getting into the ground: 28 new shelters, 11,000 permanent apartments that are coming up as we speak, and the next mayor will benefit and the city will benefit from that hard work," Garcetti said.

The mayor says the city is also faced with a housing crisis that needs to be fixed, remarking "we have to look at housing and we have to build more housing or else the mayor that comes after me will just be dealing with putting Band-Aid after Band-Aid out there."

He added the city needs both federal and state help.

The city's response to COVID-19

Garcetti said Los Angeles was one of the first big cities to impose restrictions in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Although, the mayor had been criticized by some for shutting things down so quickly at the onset of COVID-19 in Southern California, Garcetti says it was necessary.

"I knew then the economy could recover, it wouldn't be easy and I didn't downplay people's economic suffering," Garcetti remarked. "I knew a life you could never bring back."

Adrienne Alpert signs off

Alpert announced this would be her last show after hosting for more than two decades.

Garcetti thanked Alpert and congratulated her on retirement.

Garcetti said "a democracy depends on an informed, brilliant, prepared, hard-working and free press and for me you have embodied that here in Los Angeles and it has been a joy on the good and the bad days, the easy and the rough questions. It's been great to be with you and an honor on your last show."

The mayor presented Alpert with a special recognition from the city of Los Angeles saying: "You have been a true angel in our City of Angels. Thank you for pushing us, thank you for asking the questions, thank you for informing us and making democracy work."

Alpert thanked her audience for watching her for more than two decades.

"I've approached the interviews I've done here with questions I think you the viewers want asked," she said. "And I've enjoyed every minute of bringing you this program for the past 21 years."
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