03/06/2013 07:33 pm ET Updated Mar 06, 2013

Eric Garcetti, LA Mayoral Frontrunner, Won't Rule Out Use Of Drones If Elected (VIDEO)

Despite having "strong hesitations" about drones, the man who could become mayor of the second-largest city in the U.S. wouldn't rule them out either.

"I would want to have some pretty strict accountability tied to any expansion to using those sorts of drones in our city," said Los Angeles Councilman Eric Garcetti in a conversation with HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff Wednesday.

Garcetti, who won the most votes Tuesday in a mayoral primary election, is facing off against City Controller Wendy Greuel in a runoff for LA's top elected office. His hesitation to rule out the Los Angeles Police Department's hypothetical use of drones is a sign of just how commonplace -- and useful -- the aircraft have become domestically.

The Department of Homeland Security uses drones to monitor the drug trade and undocumented immigration between Mexico and the U.S. But in addition to law enforcement, other industries could benefit from drones as well.

"Everyone wants an eye in the sky," notes CBS. "Real estate agents to view properties; farmers to find thirsty crops; energy companies to build pipelines."

President Barack Obama opened U.S. airspace to drones in February, and drones, the shorthand term to describe unmanned aerial vehicles, are poised to become a a powerful new tool for local governments and law enforcement.

But perhaps the aircraft will never truly escape their reputation as "robot assassins" in the sky. The subject caused a national uproar Tuesday when a leaked letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder revealed the Obama administration believed they had the legal authority to order a drone strike against an American citizen in the United States. However, said Holder, the administration didn't have any intentions to do so.

Since then, Holder told a Senate committee that President Barack Obama planned to explain his administration's drone policy in more detail.



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