What Does the Mayor of Los Angeles Do?

Good morning.

There’s nonetheless a Senate affirmation forward of Mayor Eric Garcetti earlier than he can actually go away Los Angeles.

But President Biden’s official announcement of Garcetti as his decide to be the subsequent ambassador to India has already set off yet one more Democratic political scramble in California, this time to fill a job that’s without delay high-profile and type of thankless: that of a big-city mayor.

The undeniable fact that the announcement got here in the midst of New York City’s bruising, complicated mayoral election raised inevitable comparisons, not simply between Garcetti and New York’s outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio, however between the two jobs.

Although New York’s mayor has significantly extra energy, the roles have no less than one factor in frequent, mentioned Raphael Sonenshein, the government director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles: “It’s extraordinarily difficult to leave those offices with the bands playing and the crowds cheering. If you want an easy rise in politics, run for State Assembly — don’t run for one of these offices.”

As it seems, although, the position of Los Angeles’s mayor was formed by New York’s. I requested Sonenshein, who additionally served as the government director of a Los Angeles metropolis fee that helped reshape the powers of the mayor’s workplace in 1999, about the variations. Here’s our dialog, edited for size and readability:

Tell me about your preliminary response to the information that Garcetti lastly received the nod.

I had been extra optimistic than most that he was going to get the job, however it was clearly not a achieved deal. I’m fairly happy about it.


I feel it’s step for him, and it’s step for Los Angeles in some vital methods.

No L.A. mayor in my recollection has gone from mayor to a national- or international-level publish. The mayors of the three largest cities by no means appear to go wherever — you get very bold individuals, and their ambition is at all times annoyed.

It additionally has to do with L.A. getting extra recognition in the nationwide Democratic Party. National Democrats used to say, you go to the Bay Area for expertise and also you go to L.A. for cash.

So what energy does the mayor of Los Angeles even have? And how does that examine with different massive cities?

New York is form of by itself, but in addition typical of East Coast and Midwestern cities in having a powerful mayor system. It’s simply that New York is very robust.

What does that imply?

When I used to be engaged on constitution reform from 1997 to 1999, I checked out New York City’s constitution, and I used to be astonished to find all residual powers not in any other case delegated went to the mayor in New York. That’s nearly unheard-of. The mayor additionally runs the faculties there, which is extra frequent in the East however is admittedly uncommon out right here.

The New York City Council may be very massive — 51 members. It’s stronger than it was once, however it’s nonetheless onerous to resist the mayor. It’s a vertically organized authorities. That’s from the historical past of East Coast and Midwestern cities, with robust get together machines.

What you have got in L.A. is a authorities system that was designed 100 years in the past to not be like New York and Chicago. It was going to be a nonpartisan reform authorities with dispersed authority. And it certain seems to be like they succeeded.

We have what I would name a reasonably robust mayor. I might not use the phrase weak. The actual problem is that there’s rather a lot of energy in L.A. authorities, however it’s divided amongst many establishments.

The college board is independently elected. The board of supervisors runs an immensely robust county authorities. You have 87 metropolis governments, some inside the borders of the metropolis of L.A., every of which has land-use authority.

At the identical time, although, the mayor is with out query the most-recognized political chief not simply in the metropolis of L.A., however in the county and in all of Southern California.

So throughout emergencies, throughout an earthquake, throughout the Covid disaster, it’s potential for all of these to tug collectively behind the mayor.

ImageHomeless encampments on an overpass of the CA-101 Hollywood freeway in Los Angeles final week. Credit…Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Is there something Garcetti will get blamed for that’s really out of his management?

Homelessness is sort of completely designed to frustrate the authority of the mayor of Los Angeles. It’s a difficulty that crosses jurisdictional boundaries — the county wants the metropolis and vice versa. It’s a long-term disaster. And it’s terribly tough to deal with. So do you modify the complete construction so as to repair homelessness? It’s not one thing this dispersed authorities responds effectively to.

What about the New York City mayor?

The one factor the mayor doesn’t endure from right here that the mayor of New York does endure from is an overhanging state authorities. It’s an influence that the California state authorities both doesn’t have or chooses to not use. So in New York, if the mayor doesn’t get together with the governor — as the present mayor doesn’t — there’s battle. You might have a press convention the place the governor threatens to make use of the authority to droop the mayor. The state in the previous has taken over the funds of New York City. None of that will occur right here.

For extra:

Catch up on the full story about President Biden’s announcement.

Dig deeper into how L.A.’s metropolis authorities is structured on this 2013 piece by Sonenshein for Los Angeles Magazine.

If you missed it, The Los Angeles Times defined why there isn’t more likely to be a particular election for an interim mayor.

Here’s what else to know immediately

ImageNine out of 10 kids in the United States might be eligible to obtain the new youngster tax credit score’s month-to-month funds.Credit…Allison Zaucha for The New York Times

Compiled by Jaevon Williams

The Biden administration will ship as much as $300 per youngster a month to most American households underneath an expanded model of the youngster tax credit score. Among America’s 74 million kids, almost 9 in 10 will qualify for the new month-to-month funds beginning on Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom won’t have a “D” subsequent to his title to determine him as a Democrat on the recall particular election poll, Politico reviews.

According to The Fresno Bee, Fresno is making main strides to relocate its homeless inhabitants residing alongside the metropolis’s freeways into housing.

California will proceed to require that kids put on masks indoors at college, however not hold distanced, KTLA reviews.

Nearly 13 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the U.S. There have been 100 reviews of a uncommon however doubtlessly severe neurological situation in individuals who acquired it.

Starting on Tuesday, U.S.C.-registered nurses plan to stage a two-day strike combating extreme overwork and understaffing situations, The Press Enterprise reviews.

The Eagles will play at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center for his or her “Hotel California” tour, The Sacramento Bee reviews.

NBC Los Angeles reviews that the $62 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot ticket from Saturday’s drawing was offered at a Van Nuys liquor retailer. As of early Monday afternoon, the winner had not come ahead.

And lastly …

PictureShohei Ohtani hit his main league-leading 33rd house run final week and pushed his pitching document to Four-1.Credit…Steph Chambers/Getty Images

This week, Shohei Ohtani will pitch and hit in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. My colleague Kurt Streeter writes that not solely is the Angels standout one of the best spectacles in sports activities proper now, however he additionally represents a robust rebuke of anti-Asian hate.

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Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported throughout the state, together with the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — however she at all times needs to see extra. Follow alongside right here or on Twitter.