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Bob Hertzberg, the LA Mayor Who Maybe Would Have

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Bob Hertzberg ran for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2005. The former California Assembly Speaker and adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger lost and moved on away from politics to working on solar power in Wales where the Guardian newspaper named him one of the "50 people who could save the planet."

In a way, Hertzberg is like Los Angeles' version of Al Gore. The guy who almost made it but is now well known for his environmental efforts. His solar power design apparently works in low-light, hence operating the business out of rainy Wales. He told the Daily News in an interview today that phase one of his company "is going to India, Africa and China, where they don't have access to the grid. Where the impact on people's lives is extraordinary. Where telephones aren't for talking to your girlfriend - they're economic instruments."

As for his thoughts on Los Angeles these days? "As I travel the world, I'm embarrassed by Los Angeles in so many ways. I see these little cities coming alive. I see their airports and their transportation systems doing just brilliantly. Everywhere I go, I look at streetscapes and I look at systems. ... I always think how can we do this in Los Angeles, how can we bring this to California?

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And how about Mayor Villaraigosa? "I love the energy and I love the fact that he's out and about. I just wish he'd focus more attention to detail. He spends a lot of time in front of cameras and not putting the elbow grease in to do the homework."

On what issues, the Daily News asked. "All across the board. Look, we're filling potholes, but where's the vision in terms of the bigger-picture stuff? I want him to be successful. I chaired his transition team. I gave him every idea I had. I want him to be a success, because if he's a success, L.A.'s a success."