L.A. Councilman Alarcon praises daughter's decision to resign
Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon spoke as a father Friday, praising his daughter Andrea Alarcon's decision to step down from her $130,000-a-year post as Board of Public Works president and focus on her sobriety.
"The important thing is that she is maintaining her sobriety and she is on a path to recovery,'' the veteran San Fernando Valley politician said. "She’s not specifically in a facility, but she is definitely going through a recovery process."
Richard Alarcon, who has been in office for two decades, said getting out of City Hall's "glass house" would help his 33-year-old daughter focus on getting healthy.
"Everybody in the public eye has to come to a decision at some point, when negative things happen, if you want to continue down a road where you are subject to public scrutiny and criticism, or if you want to get out of the public eye and focus on your family and everything else,'' he said. "I think she made that decision."
Andrea Alarcon, a single mother, has been out of the public eye since the night of Nov. 16, when police say she left her 11-year-old daughter unattended in City Hall to go party with friends at a nearby hotel. She is being investigated on suspicion of child endangerment. She is also facing separate child endangerment and drunk-driving charges in San Bernardino County.
In a brief statement earlier Friday, Andrea Alarcon acknowledged "missteps" and apologized to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, her colleagues and Los Angeles residents.
Richard Alarcon said his daughter's resignation shows that she is serious about turning her life around.
"I told her you’re going to make mistakes in life. Everyone makes them. But the true demonstration of a successful person is you can recover from that,'' he said. "She certainly has the opportunity and amazing talent. I’m very pleased, and I think she’s doing great."
Andrea Alarcon and her adolescent daughter are living together and working to get through this ordeal, he said. "They do have an amazing relationship."
His daughter's health is not his only family concern. Richard Alarcon acknowledged publicly last week that his adult son, who is 36, is mentally ill and living on the streets.
On Friday, he said the family has tried to help his son but that he is resisting treatment.
"The most frustrating thing is that families have so little ability to do things about it, unless the person allows you to,'' he said. "I’m hopeful the Legislature will continue to improve the way that families can deal with mental illness on their own."
-- Catherine Saillant at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Andrea Alarcon and her father, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, in 2005. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times