Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke at the KPCC Crawford Family Forum Monday evening in a wide-ranging discussion that touched on earthquake safety, federal funding for the city, and the future of ride-sharing companies.
The mayor is rather friendly with President Obama. So when L.A.'s new leader was asked what favors he might want to call in from the federal government, the mayor said he had two things on his mind.
"Support for building out our public transportation infrastructure here," Garcetti said. "Building out the lines that will take us from Claremont to the ocean and take us into LAX and up Crenshaw Boulevard. And the L.A. River. Those are the two things."
Garcetti wants to see the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers move forward with a $1 billion plan that would restore the paved river's ecosystem. On the transit side, it will cost billions of dollars to complete the projects Metro has envisioned.
The mayor was also asked about plans to make sure the city is ready if and when a major earthquake strikes. The Los Angeles Times reported recently that more than 1,000 concrete buildings in the region could come crashing down in a major quake. Garcetti said he and his team are looking not just at concrete structures but all types of buildings. He suggested that a rotating loan fund operated by the state could help property owners bring their buildings up to code.
"Life, to me, trumps property values, so the importance of this has made me bring together all the departments right now that deal with this," Garcetti said. "Whether it's Building and Safety. Whether it's the Fire Department. Whether it's the folks at the Emergency Management Department."
On the issue of ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, the mayor said he would veto any attempts by the Los Angeles City Council to ban the new companies, which operate through smart-phone applications. The council is expected to discuss Tuesday whether to appeal new regulations for the companies set by the Public Utilities Commission. At the same time, the mayor acknowledged that the new sharing economy may need boundaries.
"Just because you're on the Internet doesn't mean rules don't apply to you," Garcetti said.