What exactly Public Works Commissioner Andrea Alarcon did on the night of Nov. 16 remains under investigation. But this much is known: Her 11-year-old daughter was found unattended at City Hall that night, and Alarcon did not come to pick her up until 2 a.m., after the girl had been taken to the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division. Moreover, it's not the first time that Alarcon's capacity as a parent has come into question. Last year, she was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, and authorities charged her with child endangerment as well because her daughter was in the car. She has pleaded not guilty in that case, and has not been charged with anything in the most recent incident.
Alarcon's situation has created a predictable stir at City Hall, in no small part because she not only holds a position of public trust — public works commissioners oversee an annual budget of nearly $2 billion, and she is paid $130,000 a year — but she's also the daughter of Councilman Richard Alarcon. Andrea Alarcon has taken a leave from her post to "seek professional help and treatment." She's entitled to sick days, and is using them.
Some of her critics — and those of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who appointed her to the position — have called on Alarcon to resign. Her behavior, they argue, is unfitting for a public official. But is it?