A mayoral spokeswoman confirmed to LA Weekly Friday that the mayor's trip to Europe this week to attend a climate conference and meet with world leaders and European dignitaries in Copenhagen, Berlin and London cost taxpayers "approximately" $120,000.
While in Europe Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa trumpeted the city's green program to convert street lights to LEDs, even though only three percent of the lamps have been replaced. He also met with "leaders of thirteen of the world's largest cities to work together over the next year to make their cities more electric vehicle-friendly," according to a statement from his office. He participated in a panel discussion on how public-private partnerships can help establish a "green economy." He shook a lot of hands. He issued a lot of press releases.
All this was happening, of course, as the City Council put off a vote on establishing rules for the 545 pot stores in L.A., as the city faces a $400 million deficit, as artists are making a mockery of the town's potholes, as the police department struggled to find money to hire new officers, and as a firefighter union leader suggested that the city's intermittent closing of fire companies could have led to the deaths of two people.
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The mayor recently went to San Antonio, Texas and Guadalajara, Mexico, too.
KTLA News journalist Eric Spillman reports that the mayor brought seven aides with him to Europe, and that the cost of the trip does not include two cops that usually travel with the mayor. He reports the cost will be split between the Department of Water and Power and the Port of Los Angeles.
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