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LA Mayor Garcetti on police discipline policy, funding an accelerated Metro expansion, and the 2024 Olympic bid

Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during the naming ceremony in Little Tokyo on Wednesday morning, Oct. 29, 2016 for the tunnel boring machine that will dig the Regional Connector Transit Project.
Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during the naming ceremony in Little Tokyo on Wednesday morning, Oct. 29, 2016 for the tunnel boring machine that will dig the Regional Connector Transit Project.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Take Two's A Martinez spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The conversation included the newly passed Measure C that revised how the police disciplinary procedures, his recent trip to Washington D.C. to secure transportation funds for the city, and how that factors into L.A.'s bid to host the 20204 Olympics.

Measure C reformats police review board to where three civilians will make decisions about police discipline. Mayor Garcetti was a strong proponent of the measure and helped in its development. 

On the panel selection process 

That’s what we have to determine with the city council. It give us the power – as we do with every other city employee by the way – for the discipline board, someone who’s not in the chain of command – no conflict of interest but trained civilians who can actually take the evidence, make a recommendation, and make sure that people have due process when they’re accused. Right now, whether the Department of Water and Power or a zoo employee, the police system was a little antiquated and put together by Lieutenant Parker before he was Chief Parker after World War I, it finally going to be updated and be like the rest of the city. 

I think that it would probably be good to have some people that have had experience in law enforcement but are either retired or have worked in the field not as police but as civilians. You want some people that have that judgement, have that experience One of those two. But I think you also want fresh and outside eyes. One of the criticisms is civilians are always more lenient on police officers. The flip side of that is, if you have command officers who are in the chain of command, they’re probably not going to go against the recommendations of their bosses. We want a fair shake. We want to hold people accountable that have broken the law or have broken policy. But also want to make sure that that’s not tainted by anything too.

A path to improvement?

Every other city department has a different system. We don’t take people, for instance, in the library department, pick senior librarians and put them on a discipline panel because, are they going to go against the head librarian who want to discipline somebody or vice versa? Are they going to go soft because they know somebody? What they do is, they have people who have no stake in the department make a decision, almost like a jury does, based on the evidence they have. So, I think it’s much fairer, both for getting the bad folks out, and making sure the petty stuff results in people becoming better police officers rather than them getting some sort of over the top discipline that usually leads to lawsuits and a lot of taxpayer dollars.


Earlier this week, Mayor Garcetti was in DC and asked transportation secretary Elaine Chao to fast track over a billion dollars for the last stage of the Metro line to Westwood, right where a potential Olympic athletes village would be.

Securing federal funds 

We had a great meeting with Secretary Chao. I testified on Capitol Hill as well lobbying on behalf of the nation’s mayors – because I chair our task force on infrastructure for all of the U.S. mayors in the U.S. Conference of Mayors – to put forward a trillion dollar infrastructure package. That’s needed. It’s something the democrats are talking about. It’s something the administration is talking about.

But for the subway specifically, we already got it approved. The environmental work is done. We had a finish date of 2025 to get to Westwood which is really only about getting the money. Now that voters passed Measure M, we can accelerate that probably by about 5 years. But we can accelerate that by another 5 or 6 years if the feds step up as they’ve done on every other segment of the subway – give us about 40% of the funds. So, we’re lobbying for that.

The budget that President Trump but out zeroed out these sorts of funds. But then other parts of the administration said, don’t worry, that’s just the budget. We’re still going to see these things. I was there to make sure doesn’t get zeroed out and to say, your support of the Olympics which they’ve been very good about – as have both parties and both houses – really depends on being able to get this public transportation there. So, I’m optimistic we can get that in and accelerate, by a decade, the finishing of the Purple Line.

Traffic in Los Angels was an issue raised by the Olympic Committee  they visited LA to evaluate the city for the 2024 Olympics last week. But President Trump's proposed budget doesn't seem to have room for large-scale infrastructure projects.

Completing the Purple Line and winning the Olympic bid

I think we’re in a great position. We have the Olympic Committee out here last week. It was an amazing visit. Literally, one of them said to me,  we’re looking for a hole in your proposal and we can’t find one. The traffic was actually, they thought, managed incredibly well. And we didn’t stop the traffic or put officers out there. We told them very honestly that we weren’t going to have kids and marching bands. We weren’t going to dress up the streets. Paris did a little bit of that, our competitor. But we just said, we want you to have an honest look at our city. And they were excited that for two and half weeks, they can get around very easily using the Olympic lanes that we’ll have on our HOV lanes. But it would be certainly great to have that subway there. It doesn’t 100% depend on it but we think that getting 20 minutes from athletes village down to Downtown to see some of the events at places like Staples Center or to compete, that would absolutely be the nail in the coffin and help us get this done.

Quotes edited for clarity and brevity. 

To hear the full interview with Mayor Garcetti, click the blue Media Player above.