ANGELES -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will
be term limited out of office on June 30. During his tenure, he
has served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2011,
national co-chairman of Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign
and as a member of President Obama’s Transition Economic
Advisory Board. He is the third Mexican American to serve as mayor
of Los Angeles.
Councilman Eric Garcetti and L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel
are the top two candidates looking to succeed Villaraigosa. They
beat out fellow candidates Kevin James, Jan Perry, Emanuel Pleitez,
Norton Sandler, Addie Miller and YJ Draiman in a primary election
on March 5. The two will advance to the runoff election on Tuesday,
Garcetti and Greuel faced off in a televised debate, which was
held at the University of Southern California, on April 22. NBC4
Southern California, Telemundo52, 89.3 KPCC-FM and the USC Sol
Price School of Public Policy sponsored it. NBC4 Political Reporter
Conan Nolan served as the moderator.
topic of the evening was civilian work force raises. Villaraigosa
approved a 5.5 percent pay increase for the city’s 60,000
employees in his 2007 budget. He also said they should use 10
percent of their pay for their own health care benefits. It is
scheduled to go into effect in January 2014.
accept that we are in a tough budget crisis in Los Angeles,”
Greuel said. “We can’t afford it. We have to make
some of those tough choices and be able to focus in the services
that are important to the citizens of Los Angeles. You ask the
residents today. They don’t believe we are doing a better
job as far as having enough jobs or fixing our potholes or having
enough libraries open. Pension reform that has occurred has not
been enough. We’re not hiring new employees. We need to
look at current employees, not having those raises, sitting at
the table at renegotiating.”
Eric Garcetti, responded: “This is an area where we are
different, Conan. We both put ourselves on the record saying,
of course, those raises need to be put on the table. I’ve
actually done pension reform, not just talked about it. This year,
$314 million in real savings, hard dollars that are balancing
the budget, $83 million in salary savings…real negotiations
that resulted in things. While others were on the sidelines in
these toughest of years, I have actually delivered.”
reform was the second topic discussed. The Los Angeles Unified
School District (LAUSD) has second highest drop out rate in the
country. More than 20 percent of their students never make it
to graduation, according to figures from the 2011-2012 school
is personal to me, I am a graduate of LAUSD,” the city controller
explained. “My son goes to Colfax Elementary School, a fourth
grader. We are 49th in the country in per pupil spending. We are
not spending enough on our classrooms for our children. It’s
why when I worked with Tom Bradley; I created L.A.’s best
after school program. I put forward a Student Bill of Rights.
They should be free from bullying; they should be safe at their
schools to have a good teacher, to have a good principal. I want
to make sure there’s local control at every single school.”
said: “This is also personal to me…cutting the dropout
rate in half. I think that is a goal I would work toward as mayor.
Plus, I have a record of working on that. We have to decriminalize
truancy. We can’t just arrest people or just give them a
ticket. Sure, there should be a consequence, but it should be
a way of reaching out to that young person and bringing them back.
I would expand parent college, which is something this mayor has
done in the partnership schools that give parents the skills of
how they can be better parents in the schools. I would look at
making sure that kids have something to be excited about in school.
For instance, teaching computer programming in our high schools.
I’d like us to be the first big district to do. It used
to be shop in the old days where you’d graduate and then
get a factory job. Now, it’s computer programming and you
might work at a company in Silicon Beach.”
topic of fixing L.A.’s traffic congestion and its health
effects, the candidates had this to say:
day before the election I was riding on the rails and talking
to folks,” Garcetti said. “We’re almost getting
to that point where you can almost go anywhere you want to go
using transit. There’s five lines that I’d like to
see get well done or at least well underway by the time I’m
gone hopefully in eight years as mayor. One expanding the Wilshire
Subway to the west side, finishing up the Expo Line, getting a
Crenshaw Line and a 405 line including a transit tunnel that would
go through the Sepulveda Pass that would get you from Sherman
Oaks to that other school in about five or 10 minutes. I think
it’s called UCLA. We have to have an emphasis on pedestrians.
You know 20 percent of the trips we take are walking. If you’re
a cyclist, you feel like you’re taking your life into your
own hands every single day. That’s what I would emphasize
on the MTA Board.”
Wendy Greuel, responded: “I was a strong supporter of Measure
R, making sure we had that the dollars available to us to create
that seamless public transportation system. Today, you actually
can’t take it from the San Fernando Valley to the west side.
You can’t take it from the west side to downtown. People
are prisoners in their own homes west of the 405. We have to focus
in on what’s important. That’s not only the lines
that I pushed forward, which was the Crenshaw Line and the subway
to the sea and the airport line. You can get to the airport with
public transportation. It is also about the common sense solution:
anti-gridlock zones, left-hand turn signals, making sure that
we’re enforcing no road construction during rush hour. We
are a city that’s walking, biking, taking buses, taking
public transportation and designing L.A. in a way that ensures
that we don’t have too much traffic.”
resident of L.A.’s Koreatown proposed a question about graffiti.
What can be done about it as a law enforcement issue and as a
quality of life issue?
“I’m proud as the city councilmember for my district
that we had a graffiti day, graffiti removal month and year looking,
identifying not only the funds necessary to remove graffiti, but
it is working with the communities to ensure the young people
have options and working with business owners to make sure they
are repainted. The funds have been cut in the last several years.
As mayor of Los Angeles, I’m going to bring those dollars
forward. When you’ve got graffiti, it brings crime and all
kinds of other problems. It is a key issue for our community and
I would identify additional funds working with the public and
private sector to make that happen.”
“We launched a program called UNTAG, uniting neighborhoods
to abolish graffiti in my district. We counted all of the graffiti
in my district on one day. I got very carsick as we drove around
every block of every street of every neighborhood. We counted
20,754 graffiti tags in one day in one of 15 council districts.
Well, the results with 400 block captains that we engaged as we
are down 82 percent. Chief Bratton used to say, ‘I know
when I’m driving across the street from your district, it’s
so effective.’ It’s the kind of model I would take
citywide. People can see it at untagla.org.”
feel the police department needs reform? What can be done to increase
the trust among the police in the immigrant community?
would continue our work to put cameras in every single police
car,” the city councilman said. “It keeps police officers
accountable and criminals accountable. Second, I would continue
to make sure that we recruit from our community. Have more police
officers come from the neighborhoods that they represent. Lastly,
I think we need to look at intervention and prevention. It’s
those youth programs like Summer Night Lights, which keeps our
parks open until midnight to give young people a safe place to
Wendy Greuel, said: “The community and the police department
can work together if that partnership is created. Trust is so
critical and that we have more officers on the street rather than
sitting in the building doing the clerical work. We need to have
officers out on the streets, patrolling the streets and for the
police department to be representative of the community. As mayor
of Los Angeles, I’m going to continue to have a police commission
that is responsive to the public and hold the police department
accountable and have a chief like we have today. Chief Charlie
Beck, who is one of those individuals who is respected all over
the city of Los Angeles.”
be Eric Garcetti or Wendy Greuel? Voters from the city of Los
Angeles will have the final say when they head to the polls on
Tuesday, May 21. Both candidates are from the Democratic party.
more information about the Garcetti campaign, visit www.ericgarcetti.com.
To learn more about Greuel, visit www.wendygreuel.org.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry addresses the media at
L.A. Auto Show; Mayor
Villaraigosa announces plans to reduce traffic congestion in L.A.;
businessman Austin Beutner running for mayor in Los Angeles
Garcetti vs. Greuel mayoral debate on NBC4:
more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
City Councilwoman Jan Perry spoke at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show in
November. She received 45,480 votes during the March 5 primary
election, putting her in fourth place.
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Rapids, Mich. native Austin Beutner announced his bid to become
Los Angeles' next mayor in April 2011. He voluntarily withdrew
in May 2012 to spend more time with family.
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addressed Town Hall Los Angeles about
traffic congestion on Sept. 27, 2011.