LOS ANGELES – The mayors of Paris and Los Angeles met Tuesday ahead of a global climate summit to memorialize the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. and to talk about the commonalities between the two cities in an increasingly divided world.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo attended a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Los Angeles and then helped pack lunches for the hungry.
Afterward, they spoke of how much Paris and Los Angeles have in common: an affordable housing crisis, increasing homelessness, a commitment to combat climate change, experience with terror attacks and preparations to host the Olympics next decade — Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
"We always learn from each other," Garcetti said.
Garcetti also announced Los Angeles will send a group of community college students from poor backgrounds to Paris next summer.
"At a moment when we're so divided in the world we hope that this will breathe some strength and some friendship back into the world," Garcetti said.
Hidalgo said Paris and Los Angeles also share the same core values and similar visions for the future, and both are planning for their Olympic games to help improve homelessness and increase opportunities for young people.
"In Paris, the Olympic games, I saw that fight as very important because I am convinced that we need to help the poor neighborhoods in northern Paris a little more," she said in Spanish at a trilingual question-and-answer session with reporters. "We have to help accelerate the transformation in these neighborhoods."
Garcetti said homelessness "is the great moral crisis of this city and many cities."
While "some people run away from these problems," Garcetti said he and Hidalgo run toward them, "even in the face of people saying, 'I don't want this in my neighborhood.'"
"We already have homelessness in our neighborhoods," he said. "The decision is, 'Will we solve it or will we avert our eyes and walk away?' To me that is an easy decision."
Both mayors will join scientists, activists, celebrities and other politicians Wednesday at a global summit on climate change in San Francisco, where they plan to announce pledges from cities for more spending on cleaner energy.
Hidalgo said climate change and homelessness "are not two different issues," and both boil down to the greater good for humanity.