LOS ANGELES (FOX 11) - A group of residents upset over the rise in homelessness in the city will formally begin a drive Wednesday to recall Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, an effort a mayoral spokesman called an unfortunate political stunt.
"The homeless situation is in a state of emergency, and everything that we've done has not worked,'' said Alexandra Datig, the leader of the recall effort. "At this point, I think we need an intervention, and we need to recall this mayor.''
Datig created the website www.recallthelamayor.com, which posts news articles and broadcast clips on homelessness in Los Angeles, and also outlines her reasons for why she believes Garcetti should be removed from office.
At a press conference held Wednesday morning that announced the filing of a formal notice of intention with the city clerk, the first step in the city's recall process. If the recall effort is eventually certified by the clerk's office, Datig and her supporters would have to collect nearly 315,000 signatures of registered city voters.
"The city of Los Angeles is failing to prevent homelessness," Datig said while standing on the steps of City Hall with members of her group. "Because of Eric Garcetti's failed leadership, becoming homeless in Los Angeles has become a death sentence, for some. We ask that you accept your failure and that you step down."
Bill Carrick, a campaign consultant for Garcetti, said the recall effort is nothing more than a "political game,'' and he insisted the mayor has done significant work to address the city's homelessness crisis.
"The mayor has invested time, effort, energy and focus to try and deal with what is a city crisis," Carrick said. "To play games with a stunt- driven recall is just unfortunate.''
Datig, who works as a consultant, said she was motivated to initiate the recall drive after the recent release of numbers showing that the city's homeless population increased by 16% over the past year. The countywide homeless population rose by 12%.
"I've seen the crisis (expand) because I work and live downtown,'' she said. "... Everyone is overwhelmed.''
She started a petition on the Change.org website asking people to sign in favor of removing Garcetti from office, and more than 8,000 people had done so as of Tuesday afternoon. The online petition carries no official weight in a recall drive.
CNS contributed to this report.