Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke at a firefighters union conference in Washington, D.C. about his support for a bill that would set up a database of firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer.

Garcetti was among several elected officials — and the only mayor — who delivered remarks to a conference organized by the International Association of Firefighters to discuss legislative priorities.

The association is the umbrella organization for firefighters’ unions throughout the nation, including Los Angeles

Garcetti told conference attendees Monday that he wants to “lead a movement of mayors across this nation” to support the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, a bill co-introduced in February by Reps. Bill Pascrell, D-New Jersey, and Richard Hanna, R-New York.

“You see, that act is the only way that scientists can better understand the link between your work and cancer,” Garcetti said. “I’m sick of stories and anecdotes. It’s time for the science to prove what we know.”

Garcetti vowed to push members of Congress to approve this bill.

“We’ve got mayors of cities that are bigger than the population of entire states, and it is time for us to recognize this scourge and to be there for you, and to make sure that your families and your health are taken care of,” Garcetti said. “It is time.”

During his nearly 15-minute speech, Garcetti also voiced support for Frank Lima, the president of the local union, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, who is running to be vice president of IAFF’s 10th District.

“I may be a little bit biased, but I don’t think you can do better than finding an Angeleno,” he said. “And thank you (Lima) for putting yourself forward, not just to lead our city, but to help lead this union.”

Garcetti said he is “dear friends” with Lima, and pointed to a pin the union boss gave him denoting FirePAC, the political action committee connected with the firefighters association that makes donations to federal candidates, according to IAFF’s website.

Garcetti said the pin “represents the leadership of this union and of him and his board.”

Garcetti’s remarks came as representatives for the city and UFLAC are negotiating a new contract.

Garcetti spoke to IAFF members on the final day of a weekend-long trip to Washington, D.C. Mayoral aides would not give details about what activities he participated earlier in the trip, which began Friday, calling that portion of his trip “personal.”

The IAFF paid for Garcetti’s flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., on Friday, as well as for his return trip tomorrow morning, according to mayoral press secretary Connie Llanos.

Due to his attendance at the conference, Garcetti had to decline his invitation to today’s signing of the statewide $15 minimum wage hike law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Garcetti is also expected to miss tomorrow morning’s funeral services for former City Councilman Bill Rosendahl because he will still be en route to Los Angeles, according to Llanos.

Garcetti is scheduled to attend another service honoring Rosendahl set for April 16 at Mar Vista Park.

–City News Service

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