After being grilled about controversial past statements on immigration and climate change, former mayoral candidate
The council voted 11-0 on Tuesday to appoint James, a Republican, to the board, with some members saying deference should be given to Mayor
“The mayor has been elected, chosen by the people and he has a duty, obligation and right to make appointments,” said Councilman
During the hearing, James said his views have evolved since his days as a conservative talk-radio host and commentator when, among other things, he said Los Angeles should hire someone like Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff
Reiterating statements he made during the mayoral primary, James affirmed his support for immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. He also acknowledged that human activity has caused climate change.
"There's a lot that he has said that I think is important for me to understand what's different and how it speaks to equity and fairness, especially in a service delivery agency as important as the Public Works Department," he said. "I didn't feel comfortable with the knowledge that I had to cast a vote."
Among the council's 15 members, Joe Buscaino and Mitch O'Farrell were not present, and one seat is vacant.
James, the sole Republican to run for mayor, came in third in the March primary. He endorsed Garcetti in his runoff contest against Controller
Garcetti’s other appointments to the Board of Public Works were approved with council members lauding their skills. They are: Matt Szabo, former deputy chief of staff to former Mayor
The Public Works Board oversees street and sewer maintenance, tree trimming and other services, and is the city's only full-salaried commission, with each appointee earning more than $134,000 annually.