LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't create the city's homeless crisis, but he owns it.
The two-term Democrat who not long ago flirted with a presidential run has been besieged by complaints about homeless encampments that have gotten so widespread he's facing a potential recall campaign.
The low-key mayor who in 2016 helped convince voters to borrow $1.2 billion to construct housing for the homeless has found himself forced to explain why the problems have only gotten worse.
Figures released earlier this month showed a 16% jump in LA's homeless population over the last year, pegging it at 36,300 — the size of a small city.
That's no surprise to anyone who lives or works in downtown Los Angeles, where tents crowd sidewalks within sight of City Hall and the stench of urine is unmistakable.
The homeless crisis has become "a state of emergency," said Alexandra Datig, who is leading the recall effort.
It's not clear if the recall effort will succeed — the threshold to reach the ballot requires over 300,000 voter signatures. It nonetheless represents at least a symbolic statement about public unrest with the growing homeless problem.