Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is Optimistic
By Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
As Mayor, I have witnessed anxiety rising around Los Angeles in recent months. I have seen despair in the faces of families behind on their mortgages and just a paycheck away from losing everything. This is one of the worst economic situations this country and this city have ever faced, which is why my number-one priority right now is putting Angelenos back to work and getting our local economy back on track.
I’m working to ensure that major American cities like ours get their fair share of federal stimulus dollars. But let me be clear—Los Angeles is not looking for a handout.
One of the ways we can help guarantee funding and secure jobs is to act now on our own local initiatives. That’s why I pushed to pass Measure R, which will generate $40 billion over the next 30 years for transportation and traffic-congestion relief. With plenty of shovel-ready projects ready to go in Los Angeles, we can leverage more support from Washington and get to work on creating jobs immediately.
The new Los Angeles economy will thrive on environmentally friendly industries and innovations. We are already replacing old, dirty diesel trucks at our ports and instituting the nation’s most ambitious solar-energy plan. As a city we are investing in subways, light-rail lines, energy-efficient schools, and retrofitted community-college buildings.
I categorically reject the grim view of those who say LA’s best days lie in some remote and nostalgic past.
It is optimism and entrepreneurship that have brought countless dreamers to the City of Angels, and it is that optimism and entrepreneurship that will lead us out of this recession and into a bright, prosperous future.
photograph by Erik Asla