Los Angeles mayor joins push for emergency state funds for homeless

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Saying "We are sinking here," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he is joining other mayors asking Sacramento to release $1.5 billion surplus dollars for emergency homeless housing.

Speaking on "Ask the Mayor" on Eyewitness Newsmakers, Garcetti said despite getting homeless people off the street at a record pace, homelessness is up 40 percent. The state money would be for temporary shelter while Los Angeles rolls out a 10-year plan with taxpayer-approved funding.

The mayor applauded the city council vote to build 222 homeless housing units in each of the city's 15 council districts in three years. He said, "The homeless are in all parts of the city and we need to house them in all parts of the city."

The mayor talked about picking a new LAPD chief to replace Chief Charlie Beck who retires June 27. The application period for a new chief just closed. A viewer asked the mayor to pick from outside the department but he would not commit to that, saying 25 police chiefs and sheriffs have come out of LAPD ranks. The police commission will pick three finalists for the mayor to choose from. Among qualifications the mayor will look for is support for release of police video as just decided by the police commission.

Garcetti addressed the still low numbers of female L.A. firefighters, around 3 percent. He said there have been a number of retirements, but two LAFD classes are underway with female hopefuls. The current application period is open, but it closes in May.

The mayor talked about meeting with high school students involved in the March for Our Lives instead of greeting President Donald Trump when he came to Los Angeles March 13. Garcetti said he was not invited to meet with the president but would be happy to have a productive relationship with him. But the mayor also said the high school students he met with on gun violence showed more leadership than Washington is showing.
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