Mayor Eric Garcetti addresses FBI raid over DWP billing

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On Eyewitness Newsmakers, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the FBI raids on the LADWP and the city attorney's office in connection with the utility's over-billing scandal that started in 2013.

The mayor said the city has its own DWP investigation ongoing, stating: "We had started an investigation as well, concurrent with what the FBI does, so we support them. Any team that comes in from the FBI, prosecutors or investigators, to help in this mission, I 100% support, and I expect everybody to do the same in the city. I have zero tolerance for any impropriety."

Garcetti picked a new DWP chief to take over in October, but put him in office immediately as interim, pending Council approval.

"Clearly public trust is the most important thing in the department, we've had amazing progress and I want to keep that going," the mayor said. "I think that leadership change was necessary. And we got a great leader in Marty Adams, who is experienced, who is well-respected, and he can make sure he can clean house and continue the progress that we have made."

The mayor warned, "This week's actions that we saw, first of all, I'm the son of a prosecutor, I told any of our city employees, if you're asked to help, be prepared to assist. And if you've crossed any lines, be prepared to pay the price."

This week came news that HUD Secretary Ben Carson is withholding $80 million in federal housing money for L.A.'s noncompliance with ADA. The mayor is confident Carson's concerns can be resolved.

"This week, we sent a delegation to meet with Secretary Carson's folks and we sat down. I'm optimistic; we agree on the goal-there's no conflict of that to build 4,000 units or renovate 4,000 units of accessible housing." Garcetti added, "Now the devil's in the details of how. When we resolve that, we can get those $80 million back and move forward."

State Homelessness Task Force co-chairs L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg are proposing consideration of a "right to shelter" law like one in New York. The mayor says it's worth looking into, with conditions. "First, as long as it's not on our backs to pay for it and the state would pay for it like in New York State, the state gives almost $2 billion to the city to make sure that happens."

He added, "They can't just be warehouses where nobody ever moves out of there. They have to be places where people can get out of shelters so we're not paying for the rest of their lives, and into housing and put their lives back on track."

Viewers asked the mayor about the city's chronic parking shortage.

"We have to also recognize parking problems come from our planning problems, which is why I asked all our community plans be updated, not only for what our parking requirements are, but put jobs and housing and shopping closer together."
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