Garcetti exits LA, with a Downtown transformed by development, stung by scandal


Officially tapped on Friday as the next U.S. Ambassador to India, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will leave a city whose Downtown he helped transform through development. But in recent years, it has also been the center of a major pay-to-play scandal involving developers.

The White House announced the nomination in a statement, and Garcetti, who was first elected mayor in 2013, said he will “always be an Angeleno.” His position requires confirmation from the U.S. Senate.

In the statement, President Biden praised Garcetti for overseeing the city’s massive transportation system, municipal utility and for leading the successful bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Part of Garcetti’s legacy will likely be the massive development projects that have reshaped Downtown L.A. in his eight years in office. But another part may also be the related corruption scandal that has rocked City Hall. Last year, a federal grand jury indicted former City Council member Jose Huizar on charges he milked developers for more than $1 million in payments and gifts in exchange for steering their projects through to approval. The multi-year federal corruption investigation netted other elected officials, developers and political aides. Garcetti, who was never implicated or charged with wrongdoing, faced a choice: keep or cancel the tainted projects.