Garcetti is headed for India. What’s next for LA?

By now you may have heard that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is Joe Biden’s choice for ambassador to India. That means he’s poised to become the first LA mayor in over a century to voluntarily vacate the office before the end of his term.

Garcetti’s coming departure has raised important questions. Who will replace him? Through what means? And how ugly will the process get?

Once Garcetti is confirmed by the Senate, City Council Member Nury Martinez will become the city’s acting mayor. The 15-member city council then has two options. It could schedule a special election or appoint an interim to serve through December 2022 — the far more likely scenario.

Several council members are eyeing the mayor’s office themselves, so the selection of an interim could be fraught.

There’s a lot of prestige that comes with being the mayor of America’s second largest city. There’s a lot of baggage too. The economy is still rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors still have a way to go. Homelessness is completely out of control with no end to the affordable housing crisis in sight. Violent crime is on the rise. Numerous LA officials are facing recall campaigns.

Garcetti has had his own internal problems and scandals to deal with. One of his top staffers has been accused of sexual misconduct and some have alleged Garcetti knew about it. His former deputy mayor was charged with racketeering last year in a sweeping real estate bribery scheme. He just suspended his chief of staff after she was caught mocking public officials and labor leaders, including 91-year-old icon Delores Huerta, on Facebook.

For Garcetti, that trip to New Delhi must look better every day.