Officials now say The Skirball Fire that took out homes in Bel Air might have been caused by an errant campfire at a homeless encampment on the outskirts of the wealthy community. It’s not surprising — just really sad.
There is a real disconnect between the haves and have nots in Los Angeles, and despite all the rhetoric about solutions, most of us would agree that the problem of homelessness in LA is worse — not better — than it was a decade ago. Maybe plans to assess developers a fee that would go toward affordable housing is a step in the right direction. But, as long as Eric Garcetti is the mayor, we will never know.
Unlike truly engaged and energetic San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who sadly passed away this week, Garcetti has been MIA for months. He’s provided no leadership on homelessness or issues importance since getting the Olympics to return — and he rolled over on that one when he realized there was no way we’d be ready in 2024.
Garcetti is sketchy. His office has been less-than-transparent on a whole host of important problems that LA is currently confronting and he’s constantly out of town.
What’s the take away from all of this?
Is Garcetti to blame for the Bel Air fire?
Of course not. But, his willingness to appear on camera clad in a firefighters’ ball cap, looking like he just left 24-Hour Fitness, the second real heroes respond to a tragedy is laughable. If Garcetti wants to be remembered for changing the core of Los Angeles, he’ll need to do more than roll up to photo ops.
Maybe he could start by showing up at City Council meetings. That would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Oh, and if he wants to roll up his sleeves and wear that firefighters’ ball cap while there, I’m sure it will be okay.
Until then, he’s nothing more than a wannabe presidential candidate who will have a tough hill to climb in 2020.
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Frank C. Girardot is the CEO of Pegasus Communications and publisher of The Hub. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org