Former Vice President Joe Biden concluded a two- day Southland campaign swing Friday, meeting with Eric Garcetti to tout the Los Angeles mayor's endorsement, while Democratic rival Pete Buttigieg toured a Watts transitional housing project for the homeless.

Garcetti announced his endorsement of Biden's presidential campaign on Thursday, calling the former vice president "a close personal friend who has been an incredible partner in delivering progress for L.A."

Biden and Garcetti spoke Friday at the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 headquarters, with two fire trucks used as a backdrop.

"We need somebody who, just like these firefighters, knows what to do, how to do it and who will help unite this country and restore America's place in the world," Garcetti said. "There is nobody running for president of the United States of America who has done more for our city than Joe Biden."

Biden told Garcetti he would seek his assistance in changing the world's climate change policies, if he's elected president.

"I warn you, Eric, I'm going to ask for your help ... in the international side of this agenda," Biden said, mentioning Garcetti's role with other mayors around the world in addressing the climate crisis. "If (Garcetti) thinks I can do the job I believe I will, it just reinforces my confidence in being able to do it."

The former vice president said he would tap Garcetti to restore the United States' role in honoring the Paris Accord, a climate agreement among nations that the United States is slated to abandon by the end of the year.

Biden said he wants to work with Los Angeles in addressing its homeless crisis, particularly focusing on mental health services, which he said is the cornerstone for getting people permanently housed.

Biden also thanked the firefighter union members who joined the gathering in support of his campaign, mentioning several instances throughout his life in which he's needed their emergency services.

In conjunction with his endorsement, Garcetti was named a national co- chair of the Biden campaign.

Biden on Thursday also picked up the endorsement of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. The pair toured the $1.3 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project at the Port of Long Beach Thursday afternoon.

Biden is "ready to lead our country on day one, and we're just grateful for his leadership here and grateful to show him this amazing facility and this port, which is the second largest container port in the United States," Garcia told reporters.

Biden spoke for about 30 minutes at a fundraiser in Irvine Thursday night, and attended a midday fundraising event Friday at the Hancock Park home of attorney Jerold Neuman, former board chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The Friday event was attended by about 55 people, and Biden again spoke for about 30 minutes.

Biden has held fundraisers for five consecutive days -- Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Tuesday in New York City and the Philadelphia suburb of Gladwyne and Monday in New York City -- before coming to Southern California. He headed to Nevada following his Friday Los Angeles events.

Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, took a tour Friday morning of one of Los Angeles' "A Bridge Home" transitional housing projects for the homeless.

A Bridge Home Imperial is a shelter providing interim housing and supportive services for 100 women and men from the neighborhood who were previously homeless, according to The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.

Buttigieg was joined on the tour by City Councilman Joe Buscaino. As part of the tour, Buttigieg sat down with some residents of the shelter to hear their stories, including one who described the joy of having a bed of her own after spending time living in a car filled with all of her belongings.

Responding to the Buttigieg event, Samantha Zager, a regional communications director for Trump Victory, the joint effort between the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, issued a statement touting efforts by the administration to address the homelessness issue.

"This administration is taking steps to address the root case of homelessness," Zager said. "As a result, housing is more accessible and affordable, Americans are off food stamps and unemployment rates are at historic lows."

Earlier in the day, Buttigieg released "Building for the 21st Century," which he billed as a plan to invest more than $1 trillion in the nation's infrastructure, creating 6 million jobs and dedicating billions of dollars toward job-training. He said the plan will lower water bills for millions of families and make a $100 billion investment to removing lead from paint, soil and water.

"Cities and towns have been leading the way on new infrastructure partnerships and approaches, but too often the federal government does not help as it should -- failing to fund and prioritize infrastructure and relying on outdated standards," he said in a statement.

"Under my administration, local governments will finally have a partner in Washington. As a former mayor, I know that priority-based budgets made locally are better than budget-based priorities set in Washington."

Buttigieg spoke at a pair of fundraising events in the area Friday evening, including one in Sherman Oaks. Like Biden, Buttigieg will also head to Nevada following his Southland visit. He is scheduled to attend a rally Saturday afternoon at a Las Vegas high school.

Talk is Cheap, Gathering News is Not

Join the readers whose monthly sponsorships defray the costs of gathering news and storytelling. That includes covering a variety of bills — from web hosting to bookkeeping — as well as payments to writers and photographers who have been generous with their time and talent. Only $5.99 a month!

Load comments