Mayor Villaraigosa Sworn in for 2nd Term, Talks 5 Goals for L.A.
Jobs, environment, public transit, crime and education were the focus of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's second inaugural address today on the south steps of City Hall. "I stand, hopefully a little bit wiser as well, chastened and enlightened both by our successes and failures over the last four years," he said. "Angelenos, I offer this oath today. In the next four years, we are going to judge ourselves plain and simple — based on what we build. We intend to write our record in concrete rather than poetry, focused on deadlines over headlines. And you have this in writing, we are going to track our promises and put the results online. And we are going to build our efforts around five clear goals for the next four years."
Of note in his lengthy speech, was about the building of twelve rail projects funded by Measure R, the additional sales tax that began today in LA County. "The people did their part," he explained, "now it’s time to do ours; to get that investment off the drawing board and into the ground; to connect the eastside to the airport, and Downtown to West L.A; to build housing for our workers along transit lines and near job centers; to take action to build all 12 Measure R rail projects on time or ahead of schedule."
The full address, which also includes his plans for job creation, environment, crime fighting and education, is below:
“Five Goals for Los Angeles”
Second Inaugural Address of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
July 1, 2009
President Garcetti, members of the City Council, members of the School
Board, Chief Barry, general managers, distinguished members of the Los
Angeles Consular Corps, fellow Angelenos:
Today we welcome the new arrival of two change agents with a fresh
mandate from the people.
Please put your hands together for our new citywide leadership team,
Wendy Greuel and Carmen Trutanich! Controller Greuel intends to apply
her powerful magnifying glass to the cause of commonsense accountability
in city government and City Attorney Trutanich has vowed to lead an
intensified assault on the gang problem, our most critical public safety
challenge. Wendy and Carmen, your goals are not only my goals. They are
central to everything we are trying to do for the City of Los Angeles.
I want you to know, you have the full support and the full partnership
of the Mayor’s Office! And to our new - and not so new City Council
members I say, under the able leadership of President Garcetti, your
institution has stood above all else as a peerless and tireless voice
for livability in our neighborhoods.
Together, in the next four years, let’s do something truly big and
put L.A. on a permanent track to a sustainable future! Angelenos, with
this oath, we commit ourselves to more than just a new term. We pledge a
I stand here humbled by the opportunity, grateful for your trust and
mindful of the responsibility that lies ahead. I stand, hopefully a
little bit wiser as well, chastened and enlightened both by our
successes and failures over the last four years. I stand renewed and
reinvigorated, re-committed to the task before us. Above all, I stand
determined to finish what we started, determined to find a second wind
in our second term.
I intend to lead with everything I have! There is a special clarity you
can only experience on a bright summer day in Los Angeles. It’s true
the light can be harsh and unforgiving. You have to almost squint your
eyes and narrow your focus on the object at hand.
I don’t know about you. I find I see better that way. From the
canyons, to the basin, I see people struggling in this recession,
unemployment the worst in three decades. Thousands of hardworking people
with their savings eroded and their equity wiped clean. I see a mounting
wave of home foreclosures threatening to engulf entire city
neighborhoods. I see the devastating impact on our own budget. And
still, I see something bigger.
Mayor Bradley said it best, “In a great city, City Hall must be a
beacon to the people’s aspirations.”
I say if the times are tough, so too must be our resolve. Together we
must see that our future as a great global city depends on our
willingness to run hard at L.A.’s biggest problems.
In our first four years, I’m proud to have laid a foundation on jobs,
schools, housing, public safety, traffic, and the environment. But I
will be the first to admit, it’s awful hard to see a foundation when
it feels like you’re standing on shaky ground.
Angelenos, I offer this oath today. In the next four years, we are
going to judge ourselves plain and simple — based on what we build. We
intend to write our record in concrete rather than poetry, focused on
deadlines over headlines. And you have this in writing, we are going to
track our promises and put the results online. And we are going to build
our efforts around five clear goals for the next four years.
Our first goal is job creation. As your mayor, I am going to make it my
number one priority to be L.A.’s number one salesman. I’m going to
have a toothbrush in my briefcase and a speech in hand! Bring your jobs
to L.A.! We are open for business! We are going to aggressively target
emerging sectors for growth. We are going to sit down face-to-face with
our friends in the business community whenever and wherever we see the
opportunity to help hire local workers and create local jobs. We know we
can no longer sit back and rely on the sunshine to sell L.A.
In my second term, we are going to practice — and refine — a lost
art in the City of Los Angeles: economic development. Beginning
immediately, I am refocusing my business team, which did an outstanding
job facilitating the historic construction boom over the last 4 years.
But with twelve percent unemployment, what we need now is a “jobs
team” dedicated 24-7 to nuts-and-bolts business attraction and
retention. We are going to bring in some new people from outside City
Hall, business ambassadors to better connect our public servants to the
private sector and entrepreneurs with fresh perspectives from the
practical world of applied job creation.
In our jobs team, we’re going to create a business concierge service
where entrepreneurs can get help solving their problems, opening their
doors and creating jobs for Angelenos. The City is blessed with powerful
economic engines in our utility, our port, and our airport. It is time
to use our city agencies to invest strategically in economic growth.
At our port, the San Pedro Technology Center will serve as a crossroads
for goods movement and an incubator for green companies and good jobs.
At our airport we will open a renovated, LEED-certified,
state-of-the-art Bradley terminal to welcome the world to Los Angeles by
the end of my term.
And beginning immediately, I will work with the Department of Water and
Power to offer a package of rate incentives to new businesses, giving
new firms a reason to locate and stay in Los Angeles.
At the center of our economic strategy is our green agenda. Angelenos,
there are two shades of green, and they go together beautifully in L.A.!
We know that in the decade to come entire industries will come into
being answering the riddle of how America can more sustainably meet its
We know our very future depends on advances in conservation, solar,
wind, and geothermal energy. We know economic growth and environmental
innovation must be seen as fingers on the same hand.
Within walking distance from here, our clean-tech corridor will put
L.A. on the international map as a center of green jobs and innovation
as home to our best minds, a partnership between world-class
universities and emerging industries and a leading incubator for
President Obama’s economic vision of green jobs at good pay.
And we know never to lose sight of our successful effort to put L.A. at
the forefront in the fight against climate change. In the last four
years, we quadrupled our renewable energy portfolio. We've removed 2,000
dirty diesel trucks from the port and sent them to the junkyard. And
we've left much of the world in the dust by beating the Kyoto targets
four years ahead of schedule.
It’s now time to meet the carbon challenge. Our second goal for the
next four years is to put L.A. on a path to permanently break our
addiction to coal. Coal currently accounts for roughly 40 percent of the
DWP’s power portfolio. Breaking the coal habit is a long term
proposition demanding a long-term commitment. It’s going to require
investment from ratepayers. Our future depends on pricing power in
relation to the environmental cost.
During my first term, we set high standards for green development and
we've taken action to meet them. Los Angeles will get 20 percent of its
energy from renewable sources by next year. We rolled out the most far
reaching green building standards of any big city in America.
And this month, the largest city-owned wind farm will start delivering
clean power to L.A.’s families. Moving forward we’re aiming to get
40 percent of our power from renewable sources by 2020 and go 60 percent
carbon-free by the end of the next decade.
Today, I am directing the CEO of the Department of Water and Power to
take every action necessary to reach these goals and eliminate the use
of coal by 2020. Meanwhile, we’re going to move beyond the clean air
action plan - the most aggressive effort to cut emissions at any port
worldwide. We are going to electrify goods movement at our harbor.
We’re going to make L.A. plug-in ready, aimed at making our city a
national hub of the electric vehicle market.
And we’re going to say to every household and every family. This is
the time to power our future with conservation and alternative energy.
This is the time to stand at the forefront of the green revolution. This
is the time to build a future founded on innovation and defined by our
commitment to building a more sustainable and livable Los Angeles.
Building a sustainable future rests at the core of our third goal. With
Measure R, in the next four years we are going to lead the largest mass
transit construction program anywhere in the United States of America.
Last November, Angelenos voted their hopes for a real, viable, 21st
century public transportation system.
The people did their part, now it’s time to do ours; to get that
investment off the drawing board and into the ground; to connect the
eastside to the airport, and Downtown to West L.A; to build housing for
our workers along transit lines and near job centers; to take action to
build all 12 Measure R rail projects on time or ahead of schedule.
Just a few days ago, our accelerated push for public transit allowed us
to break ground on an extension of the Orange Line in the Valley sooner
than expected. And in the weeks and months ahead, we are going to see if
there isn’t a way to accelerate all transit spending.
Just think, speeding up this process would mean an immediate jolt of
economic stimulus, with over 210,000 good-paying jobs. It means transit
improvements could be a reality this decade - not just in the lives of
Our fourth goal for the next four years is to keep L.A. on track as one
of the safest big cities in America. As I’ve said many times before,
public safety is the first obligation of government.
It’s the foundation for everything we are trying to build, the
context for economic growth, the setting for good jobs and a brighter
future, the building blocks of a strong, thriving community.
Today, crime is own across the board in virtually every neighborhood.
It’s important to remember that our security begins with our men and
women in uniform. They confront danger every day so that we don’t have
to. They stand today on every corner in every community in our city in
historic numbers approaching 10,000 strong. Their sacrifice is the
bedrock of our safety. Their service is the cornerstone of our security.
Their commitment and courage are the foundation for our prosperity .And
in the next four years, I will fight day and night to keep all 10,000
officers on the job. Keep our police force at its highest level in
Today, we are blessed to have some of the bravest Angelenos with us.
They’re ordinary men and women committed to an extraordinary task. As
officers and firefighters, they live at the frontlines of tragedy. They
face danger daily with equal measures of courage and humility. They are
the LAPD Medal of Valor winners and the firefighters who took charge in
the Metrolink disaster and in the fires of last autumn. I couldn't be
prouder to recognize these outstanding public servants!
Our commitment to these heroes will remain steady and unwavering. But
in the long term, we know that law enforcement alone can’t get the job
done. We know investment in policing must be matched by our investment
in the next generation. And in the next four years, we are going to get
even tougher on the root causes of crime.
Our strategy begins with an expanded emphasis on gang prevention and
intervention. We’re expanding the successful Summer Night Lights
program from 16 sites to 50 over the next 4 years, reclaiming dozens
more parks and giving thousands of young people a refuge from violence
in the summertime when the days are longest and the nights the hottest.
We are developing a system to target gang prevention services at the
kids most at risk. We’re holding ourselves accountable, setting
benchmarks for progress, tracking our results and measuring our success
not by some abstract statistic, but by the number of young people we
And we are tackling this challenge where our ultimate success has
always started: in our schools. Our Partnership has already changed the
way we do business in 10 of our lowest-performing schools. Students are
getting more attention. Parents are getting more involved. And teachers
are getting more training and support.
In one short year, 30 percent more Partnership students passed the High
School Exit Exam. Seven of 10 campuses increased the number of kids
passing the English Language Learners Test. And this year, more students
were identified as “gifted” and “talented” at Partnership
schools than ever before, proving that any child from any neighborhood
can succeed if given the chance.
Across our city, charter schools are changing the face of public
education. Groups like Green Dot, KIPP, and the Alliance are taking over
faltering campuses and transforming them into centers of innovation run
on a commonsense philosophy, less bureaucracy means more money for the
classroom. Higher pay and more training mean more effective teachers.
Raising graduation rates is not simply an option, it is an absolute
necessity. It’s long past time that we welcome all reformers as
partners, not competitors. It’s time we give all school operators the
chance to compete to run new schools set to open their doors in the next
And it’s time we embrace ideas that work in the 21st century. So, our
fifth and final goal for the next 4 years is perhaps our most important.
We cannot accept the pace of progress in our schools. In the next four
years, I will lead an effort to shut down failing schools and
reconstitute these schools as charters, as partnership campuses or as
district schools committed to metrics-driven, measurable progress. We
can no longer afford to accept the same old tired excuses for failure.
And to our teachers, let me say this, I know how hard you work. I know
the sacrifices you’ve all made for our students. I recognize that
change won’t come easy and that new ideas come with a heavy dose of
uncertainty. But rest assured, reforming our schools begins and ends
with you, with placing your voices at the center of the debate, with
raising respect and reward for the teaching profession.
Yet with that respect comes even greater responsibility, a common
commitment from each and every one of us to hold ourselves accountable.
I know this is an ambitious agenda. I know what the doubters will say.
They will say what they always say. They can even call me a
“dreamer.” But you know, “I’m not the only one.”
As a son of Los Angeles, I know, the L.A. story has always been written
in the creative arc connecting focused dreams and relentless hard work.
In my own family, it began with my grandfather. He came to America in
1903, a young man from Léon, a small town in Mexico, with little money
and even less English, but a twinkle in his eye.
According to the story, my grandfather arrived first in the state of
Texas, but when they wouldn’t serve him in a restaurant, he knew it
was time to head west to Los Angeles. And like countless others before
and since, my grandfather found a permanent and welcoming home.
Like his neighbors in Boyle Heights, immigrants from Poland and Russia,
who shared that magical world just east of the Los Angeles River. Like
the families over on Sugar Hill in West Adams, who escaped sharecropper
poverty for a middle class life, like families everywhere.
They came from the tenements and the cotton fields. They're Armenians
fleeing persecution in the Soviet Union; Persians escaping repression in
Tehran; Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, and Japanese seeking out brighter
horizons. Refugees from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, came
from every continent and every culture: rich and poor, gay and straight,
young and old. Like the thousands who will arrive this very year, bus
drivers and busboys, homecare and hotel workers, each bound by an
intricate history of work and struggle, each with a unique story to
tell, each one affirming the dream is real.
Angelenos, it is only fitting that I close today by recognizing eight
“True Angels” of our city. They are parents and police officers,
docents and teachers. They work to feed the hungry and keep kids out of
gangs. They give a precious part of themselves, applying their
imaginations and their muscles each and every day. I am proud to lead a
city that bears their footprint. “True Angels,” please stand and be
If we need any proof that the dream is real, that the spirit of
community is alive and well in our time, let their example be our
inspiration and our reminder, because Angelenos, we’re going to need
some more volunteers!
This is bigger than any one person. The future of Los Angeles is up to
each and every one of us. Together, we can build the economy of the
future. We can cut out our carbon footprint. We can build a mass transit
system of a world class city. We can be safer and stronger than ever. We
can bring fundamental change to our schools. We can make L.A. a more
livable city. We can do it if we do what Angelenos have always done,
reach for the stars and work like hell! We’ve laid a foundation, now
it’s time to raise the frame.
Roll up your sleeves with me Los Angeles!
Get out there!
Let’s show what we can do when we do it together as one city.
God Bless you all.