LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An effort to recall Mayor Eric Garcetti by a group of residents upset over the dramatic increase in homelessness in Los Angeles was officially launched Wednesday.
A press conference was held by Alexandra Datig, the leader of the recall effort, on the steps of City Hall announcing the filing of a formal notice of intention with the city clerk and calling for Garcetti to step down over “failed leadership” on the homeless issue.
“Because of Eric Garcetti’s failed leadership, becoming homeless in Los Angeles has become a death sentence, for some. We ask that you accept your failure and that you step down,” said Datig.
She cited a reported 75 percent increase in homelessness citywide over the last year. Dating also stated that for every 133 people housed, 155 more become homeless.
It’s unclear, however, what data was being cited by Datig: a report released earlier this month by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) cited a roughly 16 percent jump citywide in homelessness.
In order to have the recall effort certified, the group will need to collect nearly 315,000 signatures from registered Los Angeles voters.
“The homeless situation is in a state of emergency, and everything that we’ve done has not worked,” the leader of the recall effort, told City News Service. “At this point, I think we need an intervention, and we need to recall this mayor.”
Datig created a website that posts news clips about the homelessness crisis in the city. She also uses the platform to outline the reasons she believes Garcetti should be removed from office.
Bill Carrick, a campaign consultant for Garcetti, said the recall effort is nothing more than a “political game.” He insisted the mayor has made an effort to address the homelessness crisis.
“The mayor has invested time, effort, energy and focus to try and deal with what is a city crisis,” Carrick said. “To play games with a stunt-driven recall is just unfortunate.”
Hours after the recall effort announcement, the mayor along with City Councilman Mike Bonin and others unveiled a $6.3 million plan to address the homeless crisis, including an addition 50 sanitation workers on the city payroll, new sanitation equipment, and deploy comprehensive cleaning and rapid engagement (CARE) teams.
Bonin issued a call to provide more public facilities for the homeless.
“So if somebody is living on the street, they have to go to the bathroom, so let’s provide some toilets. If somebody is living on the street, there is trash that they will generate, so let’s provide trash receptacles,” said Bonin. “If somebody is living on the street, let’s provide showers.”
Garcetti came under scrutiny for comments earlier this month when he claimed illegal dumping – and not homeless encampments – is to blame for the piles of trash that line the streets of downtown L.A.
“Most of the things we saw in the news recently are from illegal dumping, not from homeless folks, so it’s also important not to blame folks that are living on the streets for everything that we see,” said Garcetti.
CBSLA’s Randy Paige reports the mayor Wednesday reiterated that position Wednesday, saying 80% of the trash on city streets is the result of illegal dumping – many from local businesses – and not from homeless encampments.
Datig, who works as a consultant, said she started the drive after the recent release of numbers showing the city’s homeless population increased by 16% over the past year. The countywide homeless population rose by 12%.
“I’ve seen the crisis (expand) because I work and live downtown,” she said. “Everyone is overwhelmed.”
As of Tuesday, more than 8,000 people signed an online petition in favor of removing Garcetti on Change.org, but this petition carries no weight with the clerk’s office.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)