L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, lobbying hard for his the city, has made his sixth trip to Washington D.C. since he was sworn as mayor, the Los Angeles Times reports. Garcetti fended off criticism of his jet-setting, saying, “You are always criticized for traveling, whether it is abroad or in Washington. But the importance of being regularly part of the conversation and on people’s lips is why we are here. It is paying off.”
Garcetti’s D.C. lobbying seems to have elicited a response from the Obama Administration, including pledges of federal grants for projects like the rehabilitation of an area along the Los Angeles River.. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has also planned a third trip to Los Angeles in the last year, this time to announce more federal funding for the city’s subway system.
Garcetti justified his travel by telling the Los Angeles Times,”I have got to be there to get those dollars. We have had billions that might otherwise be left on the table.”
Yet Gov. Jerry Brown’s paucity of trips to Washington belie Garceti’s claim; he has garnered funds from Washington for various issues without visiting the city even once in the last 12 months. Even Brown’s last visit, in October of 2013, was a brief one. Brown spokesman Jim Evans told the Times: “California’s influence in Washington, D.C., is not dependent on any one visit,” adding that using the phone by initiating conference calls is just as effective for communicating with those in the nation’s capital.
Garcetti has also been nurturing is his contact with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, the Times notes. Garcetti is eager for McCarthy to visit Los Angeles and meet with Olympics officials so that Los Angeles can make its pitch for the 2024 Summer Games.
He also hopes that McCarthy will favor a deal on immigration reform, the Times reports.