Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti is pictured.
Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti has been coy about his ambitions so far. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news

Garcetti’s potential: The U.S. has never had a president who came straight from city hall, but many see L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti as a potential candidate to break that trend (or attempt to, at least). Garcetti has been coy so far about any such ambitions, but he did mention earlier this summer that the latest trend is trend-breaking presidents. The Los Angeles Times reports:

There is a case to be made that the job of big-city mayor, with its daily, hands-on demands, offers better training for the White House than, say, being one of 100 members of a U.S. Senate most notable these days for accomplishing close to nothing.

… The problem, politically, is the stigma many associate with big cities: Corruption, crime, permissive liberalism and, not least, a sizable minority population that not everyone celebrates as a sign of vibrancy and welcome diversity. That makes it tough for a mayor trying to appeal to rural and suburban voters, who may avoid city life precisely because of its perceived ills.

Going gas-free: The mayor of Paris has called for an end to gas-powered cars in the city by 2030—through incentives that encourage transit, bikes, and electric cars instead. Meanwhile, the U.K. city of Oxford aims to create the first “zero-emissions zone” in the world, banning gas vehicles from six streets in 2020 and the entire city center by 2035. (NPR, Guardian)

No, thanks: In dropping out of the race for Amazon’s HQ2, the city of San Antonio throws some jabs at the hoopla of the bidding process, suggesting the company has already selected its preferred site and telling Jeff Bezos: “Blindly giving away the farm is not our style.” (Texas Monthly)

Unknown risks: It wasn’t until after Hurricane Harvey that several homeowners in a planned communities west of Houston learned that they were, in fact, living inside two massive, flood-prone reservoirs. (ProPublica)

Sculpture rescue: A civic movement in Mexico City is striving to preserve the “Route of Friendship,” a trail of sculptures  built for the 1968 Olympic Games that has since been overcome by urban development. So far the group has rescued 80 percent of the 22 original artworks. (Fronteras)

Lacking defense: The A.C.L.U. is suing two cities in South Carolina whose municipal courts don’t provide public defenders—meaning poor people are often automatically sent to jail for low-level cases. Across the state, 139 of 212 municipal courts don’t have public defenders. (New York Times)

The urban lens:

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