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Andrea Alarcon resigns from L.A.'s Board of Public Works

The Villaraigosa appointee has been under investigation since Nov. 16, when she left her daughter unattended at City Hall. On Friday, she expressed 'profound regret' for the 'missteps of her past.'

January 19, 2013|By David Zahniser and Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa named Andrea Alarcon to the public works panel in 2009. She took a leadership role on controversial matters such as bus bench advertising and commercial trash franchises.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa named Andrea Alarcon to the public works panel… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon quit her post Friday, two months after she became the subject of a police investigation into possible child endangerment.

In her resignation statement, Alarcon apologized to co-workers and expressed "profound regret" for what she described as "the missteps of my past." An appointee of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, she had been under investigation since Nov. 16, when her 11-year-old daughter was found unattended at City Hall.

Alarcon, 33, also is facing child-endangerment and drunk-driving charges in San Bernardino County stemming from an unrelated incident.

"I am grateful for the difficult lessons that I have learned and am now healthier and stronger," she said. "Through this experience, I have been reminded of my most important job — being a mom."

The resignation is the latest development in what has been a difficult year for the Alarcons, a political family with City Hall ties going back more than two decades. Alarcon's father, Councilman Richard Alarcon, lost his bid for state Assembly in November and is currently facing perjury and voter fraud charges. He recently acknowledged publicly that his 36-year-old son is homeless and suffering from mental illness.

Andrea Alarcon had been on leave from her $130,000-per-year post for two months. Her daughter was found by security officers at City Hall on the night of a gala honoring Villaraigosa. Alarcon did not turn up to fetch her daughter until 2 a.m., and a Villaraigosa aide told police that they had gone to a hotel in Little Tokyo the night of the party, according to law enforcement sources.

After The Times reported on the incident, Alarcon announced she was seeking professional help.

L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey's office reviewed the information that the LAPD had gathered on Alarcon and concluded that it did not rise to the level of felony child endangerment. Lacey sent it for possible misdemeanor prosecution to City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who then referred the matter to state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris on the grounds that Alarcon, as one of his clients, poses a potential conflict.

Alarcon's resignation is effective Wednesday, the day of her next scheduled court hearing on DUI charges in San Bernardino. Alarcon paid for her leave from unused sick time.

Villaraigosa named Alarcon to the public works panel in 2009. She took a leadership role on controversial matters such as bus bench advertising, commercial trash franchises and denying a permit to — and essentially pulling the plug on — the Sunset Junction music festival in Silver Lake. By late 2011, she was viewed as a likely prospect to run for a San Fernando Valley seat on the City Council.

On Friday, Alarcon returned to City Hall to meet privately with other public works officials and inform them of her decision. Villaraigosa then released his own statement praising Alarcon's work at the agency, which handles street repair, street lighting, sidewalk maintenance and trash pickup, among other things.

"I am encouraged by her commitment to addressing personal issues that have surfaced in recent months," the mayor said.

Alarcon did not receive a special severance package and was under no pressure from Villaraigosa to leave, Richard Alarcon said. The councilman said he is happy that his daughter, who has been on various city commissions since 2006, is "getting out of the glass house" — his description of City Hall.

"The important thing is that she is maintaining her sobriety and she is on a path to recovery," he said.

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