Members of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter protested in front of the official mayoral residence in Windsor Square on Tuesday, saying Mayor Eric Garcetti should not be picked for a cabinet position in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Garcetti, who was a co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign, has repeatedly said he is not seeking a cabinet position at this time, and his political team has told City News Service since Election Day that he has not considered a position.
Homeless advocacy groups are angry about the number of people still living on Los Angeles streets under his watch as well as the daily death rate of unhoused people, which they said is at four a day, while BLM-LA activists are angry about how Garcetti has handled the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget.
“We are demanding that (Garcetti) stop giving the most murderous police department in the U.S. a blank check,” BLM-LA stated in an email. “We must defund the police and invest in life-affirming services. We also demand that the Biden administration refuse to select L.A.’s sycophant, self-seeking mayor for a cabinet position in which he is completely unqualified.”
BLM-LA alleges the city has not properly invested the $150 million it cut from the LAPD budget into communities of color, as the mayor promised to do earlier this year. The Los Angeles City Council has discussed using the money for hiring programs and to avoid furloughs due to the COVID-19 pandemic among other uses that would help disadvantaged communities.
“It’s time for the mayor and City Council to make good on their process to defund LAPD and its racist violence and fund the health and wellbeing of our communities,” the BLM-LA statement reads. “Mayor Garcetti is set to approve another bloated LAPD budget while imposing austerity for every other city department.”
On social media, video and photos were posted showing protesters surrounding Getty House, the mayoral residence, with bullhorns and signs. On Twitter, BLM-LA called Garcetti “one of the worst mayors in the country.”
Garcetti most recently said he was not seeking a cabinet position on Monday when reporters broached the topic during a COVID-19 update.
“I have been focused 110% on these numbers and on COVID and on saving lives,” Garcetti said. “It’s one of the last things on my mind right now. You know, we have deaths that are going to be increasing, we have record numbers of cases and so I don’t have anything to add on that not because I have anything to hide, I just have nothing to add. Right now my job number one is to make sure I protect the lives of Angelenos.”
Various news outlets have speculated that Garcetti is being considered for secretary of Transportation or Housing and Urban Development.
“Currently, Los Angeles is experiencing one of the largest housing crises in the nation and Mayor Garcetti has failed to remedy the issue,” BLM-LA stated.