The tension between his day job and his presidential ambitions may soon come to a head: Garcetti had said he’d decide by the end of 2018, and make an announcement either way by the first quarter of 2019. But this month, right in the middle of what’s expected to be a rush of candidate announcements, he’s facing a potential teacher’s strike that could shut down city schools. The deadline for a new teachers’ contract is January 10.
Michael Trujillo, an L.A.-based Democratic operative who worked for Garcetti’s predecessor and rival, Antonio Villaraigosa, said he sees this as a perfect example of how a 2020 campaign could leave the city with “distracted” leadership. “I don’t know how you roll out a presidential campaign when the federal government is shut down and every L.A. public school is shut down, too,” Trujillo said. “I don’t think he can do both.”
Ed Rendell doubts it, too. Rendell, whose final months as mayor of Philadelphia, in 1999, overlapped with his two months as a co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, said he took the national political job on the condition that he’d work only on nights and weekends until his tenure was up at City Hall. “I could not imagine running for anything and doing my job as mayor,” Rendell said.
Rendell also said the kind of campaigning it would take to bring up Garcetti’s poll numbers, now in the low single digits because few people know him, is beyond what a full-time mayor can manage—though he noted that there might be some wiggle room given the weak-mayor structure in L.A. “Garcetti can try to do both mayor and candidate, but I don’t think he can give the right amount of time for a candidate who’s really not well-known, who has to get out there,” Rendell said.
Garcetti isn’t the only sitting mayor likely to run in 2020: Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, seems close to announcing his bid. But Buttigieg’s city is a fraction of the size of Los Angeles, and thus infinitely less complicated. He announced in December he won’t be running for reelection once his term is up at the end of the year, though he didn’t officially say his decision was linked to a presidential run. Mike Bloomberg of New York is also considering a presidential bid, though he hasn’t run the city in five years. Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans who left office last year, hasn’t ruled out a campaign yet.
Garcetti’s advisers argue they’ve had practice runs for what the next two years could be like, citing how, for example, he once helped set negotiations in motion over a labor dispute just before leaving on a long trade mission to Asia. Indeed, the mayor has been out of the city frequently over the last two years: pitching Los Angeles as a location for the 2028 Summer Olympics, taking on several roles within the U.S. Conference of Mayors, convening his Accelerator for America nonprofit group that’s focused on infrastructure investments, and stumping for midterm candidates in Minnesota, Ohio, and Mississippi—all while taking enough personal political trips to tease his presidential prospects and drum up donors. “In this day and age, you can be mayor anywhere,” Garcetti told me, arguing that much of his travel has been done on behalf of the city—“to win the Olympics, to get funding from D.C., to get Sacramento to focus on homelessness.”
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News