Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will address a National Press Club luncheon on Jan. 14. His topic: "Immigration Reform: Now is the Time."
Besides serving since 2005 as mayor of America’s second largest city, Villaraigosa filled the role of chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which re-nominated President Obama. The president has promised to make immigration reform a top priority of his second term.
Villaraigosa, a past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has been featured on the cover of Newsweek, and in Time’s story on the country's most influential Latinos.hief of Naval Operations
January 14, 2013 :30 PM
This event is open only to members of The National Press Club & their guests (including Wharton Club Members)
--Lunch from 12:30-1:00 p.m.
--1:00 - 2:00 p.m.: The speaker's remarks and Q&A from the audience.
Please call Alan Schlaifer at 301-365-8999 if you'd to be considered to attend the reception (if there is one) from 12-1230 pm with the speaker. (May only bring 2 guests, so early sign up helps).
Where: National Press Club, Ballroom, 13th Floor, 14th & F Streets, N.W., just two blocks from Metro Center
Metro, Parking: Metro Center; several private garages within a few blocks.
Reservations: $35/person for current Wharton Club members and their guests only. You must reserve in advance on our site. We have only a limited number of seats.
Meet Antonio Villaraigosa (from Wikipedia.org):
In 1990, Villaraigosa was appointed to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Board and served there until 1994. In 1994, he was elected to the California State Assembly. Within his first term, he was selected to serve as Democratic Assembly Whip and Assembly Majority Leader. In 1998, Villaraigosa was chosen by his colleagues to be the Speaker of the Assembly, the first from Los Angeles in 25 years. He left the Assembly in 2000 because of term limits
Villaraigosa ran for election as Mayor of Los Angeles in the 2001 citywide contest but was defeated by Democrat James Hahn in a run-off election. In 2003, Villaraigosa defeated incumbent Councilman Nick Pacheco to win a seat on the Los Angeles City Council representing the 14th District.
Villaraigosa placed first in the primary for the Los Angeles mayoral election of March 8, 2005, and won the run-off election on May 17, receiving 58.7% of the vote. On July 1, 2005, Villaraigosa was sworn in as the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles. He is the first Latino Mayor of Los Angeles since 1872, when MayorCristóbal Aguilar (Mayor from 1866 to 1868 and again from 1870 until 1872) served as Mayor. Attendees to his first inauguration included then GovernorArnold Schwarzenegger; former Governors Gray Davis, Pete Wilson, and Jerry Brown; former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Villaraigosa was re-elected in 2009, receiving only 55.65% of the vote, a relatively small majority, despite running against a field of nine relative unknowns and spending 15 times as much money as his most prominent challenger, attorney Walter Moore who won 26.23% after previously only winning 2.5% of the vote in the 2005 election. Villaraigosa drew controversy by refusing to debate any of his opponents before the election, namely Walter Moore.
One of Villaraigosa's main transportation-related goals is to extend the Purple Line subway down Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica. Proponents have dubbed the project the "Subway to the Sea." Villaraigosa worked to persuade Congressman Henry Waxman to repeal the ban on subway tunneling in Los Angeles, which occurred in 2006.
On November 4, 2008, Los Angeles County voters passed Measure R, an additional half-cent per dollar sales tax that increased the sales tax rate in Los Angeles County from 8.25% to 8.75% and is projected to generate up to $40 billion over thirty years for transportation. Measure R included funding for the portion of the "Subway to the Sea" between Wilshire/Western and Westwood/VA Hospital; a project known as the Westside Subway Extension. Its passage was credited in large part to Villaraigosa, who lobbied the Metropolitan Transportation Agency and County Board of Supervisors to place it on the November ballot, and helped organize the fundraising efforts.
One of Villaraigosa's first executive directives aimed to ban road construction during rush hour in traffic-plagued Los Angeles. Villaraigosa even publicly pledged to take the subway to work one day a month, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. This, however, proved impossible for him.
In February 2010, Villaraigosa traveled to Washington, D.C. in order to promote a "Ten/Thirty" plan that requests an $8.8 billion bridge loan to augment the $5.8 billion expected from Measure R tax revenues. Proceeds would accelerate the construction of 12 mass transit projects. The loan would be repaid with continuing income from Measure R funds.
On Saturday July 18, 2010, Villaraigosa fell from his bicycle after being cut off by a taxi driver; Villaraigosa suffered a broken elbow in the fall, and the taxi driver fled the scene. The accident converted Villariagosa into "a new champion of cyclists' rights", when he declared a bicycle safety summit, and announced that he would push for the passage of a "3 foot passing rule" in California. The two-hour long summit meeting, held Tuesday, August 16, 2010, was criticized for not including input from Los Angeles' Bicycle Advisory Committee, which has held a number of Bicycle Summit meetings. Villaraigosa has also supported implementation of Los Angeles' Bicycle Master Plan, adopted in March 2011, which sets a long-term goal of creating a network of 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways spanning the city. Subsequent to the adoption of the plan, Villaraigosa issued an executive directive that "mandates the construction of 40 miles of bikeways each year" and "requires city agencies to include bicycle-friendly features in their programs and expand public education and training campaigns."
Villaraigosa is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a national organization of Mayors whose goal is to increase gun control.
Villaraigosa has proposed a Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness initiative, which adds certain units to the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments and reorganizes some of the current practices. Villaraigosa's latest development in the policy realm of homeland security is the creation of his Homeland Security Advisors, a group of approximately 40 leaders. The panel includes Police Chief William Bratton, former L.A. FBI chief Ron Iden, former Mayor Richard Riordan, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and former District Attorney Ira Reiner. It will be co-chaired by his Deputy Mayor forHomeland Security and Public Safety Arif Alikhan. The panel planned for such issues as counter-terrorism measures, evacuation planning and emergency preparedness.
Villaraigosa vowed to hire 1,000 new police officers, a promise which has not yet been kept. On March 6, 2009, Mayor Villaraigosa and Police Chief Bratton announced that the L.A.P.D. had expanded to its largest force in city history. On May 14, 2009, City Council approved an LAPD/LAFD hiring freeze. In a television advertisement paid for by the Villaraigosa campaign, Chief Bratton stated that "Crime is down to levels of the 1950s." Twenty-four hours before the March 3 Election Day, Villaraigosa and Bratton reannounced a statement from the Mayor’s Office that the “citywide crime-rate drop to the lowest level since 1956, the total number of homicides fall[ing] to a 38-year low. Gang homicides were down more than 24 percent in 2008.” However, former Chief of Police Daryl Gates declared this statistic meaningless, citing the trend toward lengthier prison sentences for career criminals as the true reason for the change. In fact, crime has fallen by 43 percent across California between 1994 and 1999 In an article by Patrick Range McDonald, these statistics were further disputed. The figures are also disputed by Professor Andrew Karmen, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Karmen stated that, adjusting for population, the Los Angeles murder rate would need to be 180 or less to be equivalent to the crime rate of 1956, with its rate of 104 homicides per 2.2 million people, or one killing for every 22,115 people (the 2007 rate was 396 per 4 million people, or one killing per 10,101 people). McDonald further noted that, "In 1956, 89 percent of homicides were cleared. Today, if you kill another human being in Los Angeles, chances are very good you will get away with it: 43 out of every 100 killers are not caught." Similarly, he notes, "In 1956, 42 percent of robberies were cleared by an arrest. Today, that number is 26 percent."
Villaraigosa sought to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as one of his top priorities as mayor, but failed.
In his first State of the City address, he announced his intention to assume full control of the LAUSD, through a bill passed by the State Legislature. The school board and teachers' union immediately protested and support in the community was lukewarm. Consequently, Villaraigosa reached a compromise with leaders of the teachers' unions and state legislators that would create a Council of Mayors of the 28 cities served by LAUSD. The votes of each Mayor would be proportionate to the city's population, thus giving Villaraigosa over 80% of the vote, and most often, the final say of what happens, while requiring him to seek consensus from a few other cities.
AB 1381 was passed by the state legislature and signed by GovernorArnold Schwarzenegger. The plan received significant opposition among the Los Angeles Board of Education, Board President Marlene Canter, then-superintendent of LAUSD, Roy Romer, among others. On December 21, 2006, AB 1381 was ruled unconstitutional. Villaraigosa made a preliminary appeal that he later dropped.
Villariagosa operates the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which controls 10 LAUSD campuses. In June 2009, teachers at 8 of the ten campuses gave the partnership landslide "no confidence" votes. Steve Lopez, a columnist at theLos Angeles Times, stated that at the two other schools, a significant number of the teachers disapproved of the partnership's operations.
In January 2005, Villaraigosa appeared before a coalition of animal rights activists and pledged that, if elected, he would implement a no-kill policy for Animal Services and fire General Manager Guerdon Stuckey, an appointee of former Mayor Hahn. Animal activists had expressed doubts regarding Stuckey's ability to lead the Department of Animal Service since his appointment, primarily citing his lack of experience. During Stuckey's tenure, activist concern intensified due to a refusal to accept charity-sponsored spay and neuter services, firings of several key animal rights-oriented workers, and excessive euthanasia of animals held by Animal Services. Approximately one year after Villaraigosa's initial promise to fire Stuckey and substantial negative press, Villaraigosa fired Stuckey. Stuckey appealed the firing to the City Council and threatened a lawsuit, and in February 2006, the Los Angeles City Council awarded Stuckey a $50,000 consulting fee with the agreement that there would be no lawsuit. In January 2006, Villaraigosa appointed Ed Boks to the General Manager position. In April 2009, General Manager Ed Boks resigned after complaints from some staff, city councillors, and animal advocates. In June 2010, fifteen months after Boks’ resignation, Brenda Barnette, former CEO of the Seattle Humane Society was appointed.
Villaraigosa has tripled the city's trash collection fee from $11 per month to $36.32 per month for single-family homes, stating: "Every new dollar residents pay for trash pickup will be used to put more officers on the streets," in a press release dated April 12, 2006. A 2008 L.A. City Contoller audit by Laura Chick determined that 2008 "only $47 million, or about one-third of the new trash-fee revenue then pouring into city coffers, went to hiring police, and only 366 officers were hired instead of the promised 1,000."
Villariagosa then lobbied to place Proposition S on the ballot to fund new police officers, concerned that a pending court ruling could eliminate the 40-year-old 10% telephone tax. This generated some controversy among tax activists, as Villariagosa and his negotiating team had recently reached a salary agreement resulting in a 23% pay hike. Controller Laura Chick noted that Proposition S language does not restrict expenditure to police and firefighters, and instead deposits the money into the general fund. It is not certain that any of the Prop S monies were used to hire new police officers. Villaraigosa supports Proposition O, which currently adds $10.22 to the property tax bill of a $350,000 home and will eventually climb to $35.00. Villariagosa also campaigned last fall for two education bond measures that will increase the size of property tax bills over the next decade.
On March 23, 2010, Villaraigosa, in a leaked memo warned the Los Angeles City Council that their potential failure to support a series of four proposed rate increases totaling 37% and already approved by the city's Department of Water and Power would be "the most immediate and direct route to bankruptcy the city could pursue".
In April 2008, Villaraigosa set aside a large parcel of industrial land around the Los Angeles River to create a “clean-technology corridor.” Discussions have started with international companies about relocating to the corridor and a range of incentives are available for businesses opting to move to the city. The site will include a research facility that will draw on the engineering talents of local higher-education institutions, such as the California Institute of Technology and UCLA. About 20 acres (81,000 m2) has also been set aside for a manufacturing center. As of August 2010, the project is still in the planning stage.
Villaraigosa played a critical role in establishing the LA Cleantech Incubator and voiced his support for the organization during the night of their opening.
On August 10, 2007, The Los Angeles Times published an expose on water use by Villaraigosa at his private residences. During the Summer of 2007, Villaraigosa challenged Los Angeles residents to slash their water use by 10% in the face of a historic drought. "Los Angeles needs to change course and conserve water to steer clear of this perfect storm," Villaraigosa said then. But DWP records obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that "Villaraigosa has been contributing to that storm," according to the Times. He and his family used 386,716 gallons of water at their Mount Washington home, far higher than the average of 209,000 gallons. Villaraigosa blamed his high water use on "gophers that chewed holes through a rubberized drip-irrigation system."
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