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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford visits L.A. City Hall but misses Garcetti

Eric GarcettiTravelBusiness TripsLocal GovernmentRob FordJimmy KimmelMitch O'Farrell

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford paid a visit to L.A. City Hall, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was nowhere to be found.

Not because he was avoiding Ford, who got into a political pinch back home after admitting to crack cocaine use, but because Garcetti was in Mexico on a business trip.

"Every city I go to, I go to City Hall,'' Ford said Monday, surrounded by his handlers on the steps of City Hall. "I just pop in to say hi."

Surprised City Hall security personnel escorted Ford and his entourage to Garcetti's office but were soon turned away. Garcetti is in Mexico this week, hoping to drum up business on his first international trip since taking office.

Ford headed to the 10th floor, where he wandered briefly into a Budget and Finance Committee meeting. He was last seen departing the budget hearing in search of conversation with other "councilors."

One of Ford's staffers later posted pictures on Twitter showing his boss talking to two L.A. councilmen, Mitch O'Farrell and Tom LaBonge.

Ford gained international attention last year after media reports of public drunkenness and illegal drug use. He apologized for his behavior and admitted smoking crack cocaine. His Toronto City Council colleagues stripped him of official powers, but Ford refused to step down.

In January, he announced he would seek reelection this fall. Ford told reporters at L.A. City Hall that he was in town because late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel had invited him to make an appearance on Kimmel's show. Ford said he arrived Saturday and attended an Oscars party Sunday night.

"I'm looking for more movies to be made," he said of Toronto's $1.2-billion filming industry, perhaps unaware that his pitch is at odds with Garcetti's campaign to stem runaway production. "We have a beautiful city, and it's safe. It's very multicultural, and taxes are low."

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catherine.saillant@latimes.com

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