Local Briefs

Garcetti to be Appointed Ambassador to India

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been tapped to become President Joe Biden's ambassador to India.

Garcetti has yet to comment on the reports, and his departure is far from final. The White House also declined to comment to the Associated Press, other than to say "no one is final until they're announced."

If the mayor were to resign and accept the post, he would still face Senate confirmation, which could take weeks or months.

Should he step aside, the City Charter gives City Council the power to appoint an interim mayor to replace Garcetti through the end of his term. The council's president, currently Nury Martinez, can also act as mayor pending an appointment of a successor - complicating the upcoming mayoral election, in which Martinez is said to be "seriously considering" a run.

Garcetti, who was first elected in 2013 after serving a dozen years on City Council, will term out in December 2022. (His term is an extra year-and-a-half long because Angelenos voted in 2018 to switch local elections to even-numbered years.)

A primary in the mayoral race is set for June 7, 2022, with the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

But the City Charter also gives the council the power to call a special election to pick who serves through December 2022. This would not affect the schedule of the 2022 election, but would certainly complicate the race.

It's unclear if City Council would take this step, which could end up being expensive to administer if it's not combined with another election, such as the expected recall referendum on Gov. Gavin Newsom.

And Martinez isn't the only councilmember who could appear on a ballot. Councilmember Joe Buscaino has already declared his candidacy, and councilmembers Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kevin de León are also said to be considering runs for mayor. De León previously served as president pro tempore of the state Senate, and Ridley-Thomas as an L.A. County supervisor.

If he leaves, Garcetti would become the first sitting mayor to step down since 1916, when Charles Sebastian resigned after a newspaper published his love letters to his mistress, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Garcetti would leave behind a city where his tenure has been defined by the coronavirus pandemic and an out-of-control homeless crisis that saw filthy encampments spread into nearly every neighborhood.

He considered a 2020 White House bid and later became part of Biden's inner circle, emerging as a widely discussed possibility to join Biden's Cabinet last year. But he took himself out of the running, saying the raging coronavirus crisis made it impossible for him to step away.

Newsom Offers Cash for Shots

Vaccinated Californians could win up to $1.5 million in a lottery Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday, part of a $116.5 million effort to convince more Golden State residents to get their COVID-19 shots.

Ten Californians who got at least one dose will split a $15 million pot on June 15. Vaccinated Californians will also be automatically entered for chances to win $50,000, with 15 winners drawn June 4 and the rest drawn June 11.

All Californians 12 years or older are eligible. The money will be put in a savings account for minors until they turn 18. Winners must complete their vaccination to claim the prize.

With more than 22 million Californians having at least one shot as of Thursday, the odds of winning $1.5 million stands at 1 in 2.2 million. By contrast, the odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302 million.

The state is also offering $50 grocery or prepaid gift cards starting Thursday to the next 2 million Californians who begin and complete their vaccination.

Contactless Bus Passengers Get Discount

Big Blue Bus (BBB) is offering a free 30 Day pass for customers who switch to contactless payments on TAP or mobile ticket. "As part of a short-term pilot to help us study the benefits of a cashless system, BBB is going contactless this summer," said the municipal bus company in a press release.

"To further incentivize the transition, BBB is also offering discounted Single Ride fares. For those paying with a TAP card or a mobile ticket, Regular customers can ride BBB for $1 each way; Senior/Disabled/Medicare customers ride for just $0.40."

If you'd like to take advantage of the discount, download the transit app to your phone, or pickup a TAP card.

The Transit Store is located at 1444 4th St., in Downtown Santa Monica. You may buy a TAP card there, or obtain more information on BBB.


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