FROM Antonio Villaraigosa
Villaraigosa's Final State of the City Last night, Antonio Villaraigosa made his last State-of-the-City address as Mayor of Los Angeles. He took credit for declining crime, reduced air pollution, new light rail lines and paved bikeways. He also took aim at the campaigns of Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, one of whom will replace him in June. Today, he's making more news by saying that city workers should contribute 20 percent of their salaries toward their retirement and 18 to 20 percent for healthcare. --> -->
As Los Angeles Votes for a New Mayor, We Talk to the Old One For Antonio Villaraigosa, the days as Mayor of Los Angeles are dwindling down to a precious few. He'll be out of office on the first of July. Eight years ago, he became the first Latino to lead the city since 1872 and expectations were high for a man the national media were calling the "rock star" Mayor of LA. He joins us as voters are still casting ballots for someone to replace him.
Villaraigosa on 'America Fast Forward' Among American cities, Los Angeles often ranks first in commuter stress and hours wasted in traffic, but it's also first when it comes to cutting edge, forward thinking transportation planning. That's according to Canadian travel writer Taras Grescoe on the op-ed page of Saturday's LA Times. Last week, a Congress that's been notable for not getting anything done passed a transportation bill that will generate jobs putting by a lot of that planning into effect. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is getting a lot of the credit for successful lobbying.
Public Workers, Public Transit and the Mayor of Los Angeles Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa delivered an upbeat State of the City speech last night, emphasizing pubic transportation and his plan to speed up construction projects by extending a one-half cent sales tax rather than letting it sunset as Measure R now provides. Today, he reportedly stormed out of a Metro board meeting when County Supervisor Mike Antonovich called that a "gang rape" of communities that are not being consulted as they were leading up to the passage of Measure R .
Redesigning LA's Sixth Street Viaduct The Sixth Street Viaduct, connecting Los Angeles's downtown to the neighborhood of Boyle Heights, is a historic structure designed eighty years ago by Merrill Butler of LA’s Bureau of Engineering. But the structure is crumbling and has to be rebuilt. For a long time it has seemed as if city engineers were going to replace it with a utilitarian but boring structure. Then last week they announced an international competition to find a designer who can build something really imaginative. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offers his thoughts on why the city opened up the challenge to a wider audience. But what should the bridge look like? Advocacy groups like Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR) are pushing for an ambitious design. Alex Ward, architect and chair of FOLAR, describes his vision for the new bridge. It’s not unusual for cities to use competitions to attract innovative and high-level public architecture. Gary Lee Moore is LA's City Engineer and explains how the City of LA plans to select its designer for the $400 million project. More information is available at the competition website . The view of the bridge from 6th Street. Photos courtesy City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
What Has Antonio Villaraigosa Done for Los Angeles Lately? The Mayor of Los Angeles has less than a year and a half until he's "termed out" of office. Antonio Villaraigosa's first term was marred by personal troubles and rejection of his education proposals, but he easily won re-election. Critics say his attention is now focused not so much on LA as it is on Washington, now that he's President of the US Conference of Mayors and Chair of the upcoming Democratic National Convention . He's in Washington today, pushing for transportation bills in the House and the Senate, which include his plan called, " America Fast Forward ."
What's Next for Occupy LA? Lawyers for demonstrators have asked a federal court to prevent Mayor Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck from closing down Occupy LA. In October, the Mayor welcomed the encampment and the City Council endorsed its goals. But last week, the Mayor said the occupation was "unsustainable," and declared it illegal at one minute past midnight this morning. But many protesters wanted to stay. This afternoon, lawyers for Occupy LA asked a federal judge to stop the eviction on the ground that Chief Beck and Mayor Villaraigosa exceeded their authority. (In addition to our three guests, we head from KCRW's Saul Gonzalez, who spoke to Grant Collette and Clair Moss.)
Mayor Villaraigosa, LA Jobs and the Reality of Term Limits Antonio Villaraigosa is in his last term as Mayor of Los Angeles, and recently told the LA Times that his last two years in office are going to be tough ones. Meantime, Villaraigosa, who's also President of the US Conference of Mayors, is pushing Washington to give local workers an advantage in hiring for transportation projects financed in large part by the federal government.
President Obama Proposes Drawdown in Afghanistan In last night's address to the nation, President Obama said there won't be peace in Afghanistan just because the US is withdrawing 33,000 troops by next summer. Peace will require a political settlement, including the Taliban. But, he said, the military effort has made that possible. We get the details and reaction from Washington to South Asia.
President Obama Proposes Drawdown in Afghanistan President Obama says bringing home 30,000 troops from his "surge" before next year's elections is "the beginning, but not the end," of his effort to wind down the war. The Pentagon wanted a slower withdrawal to maintain what commanders concede are "fragile" gains, but 56 percent of Americans have severe "war fatigue." Is al Qaeda no longer a threat to Americans? Are the Taliban on the run? Can the Karzai government learn to provide services and defend the country? We get reaction to last night's speech from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Washington, DC, and from local elected officials who want to see "nation building" at home.
CicLAvia and the Rise of Bicycle Culture in Los Angeles It's estimated that more than 100,000 people turned out yesterday to bike, skate, run or meander through seven and a half miles of streets closed to motorized vehicles from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights. CicLAvia was enthusiastically backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who rode with Lance Armstrong. Frances Anderton, host of KCRW's DnA program and a producer for WWLA? interviewed participants along the route. Her six-year-old daughter Summer rode her scooter.
Mr. Villaraigosa Goes to Washington…Again Introducing his energy program today at Georgetown University, President Obama said, "The Mayor of Los Angeles is in the house." Antonio Villaraigosa is scheduled to be President of the US Conference of Mayors this year, and he's in Washington to push a program called " America Fast Forward ."
LA Mayor Promotes Stimulus, Transportation Los Angeles County voters raised the sales tax in 2008 to pay for some 12 projects, including the subway extension to the Westside. Instead of waiting for 30 years, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to borrow $40 billion in federal dollars and finish them off in 10 years. His 30/10 initiative has won the support of two major players, the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL/CIO. Villaraigosa discusses his transportation plan and pension reform at the local level.
School Finance and Education Reform The Los Angeles Unified School District is in for change. State money is dwindling, and there will be a new superintendent next spring. Four school board seats will be up for election, and AJ Duffy will step down as head of United Teachers of Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa got his start as an organizer for that union, but now says that schools "once synonymous with excellence" have become "dropout factories." In a major speech last week in Sacramento, he called the teachers' union, "the most powerful defender of the status quo…" Also, Governor-elect, Jerry Brown is making good on his campaign promise to hold a series of public discussions to define California's problems. Last week in Sacramento, it was the state budget . Today at UCLA, he talked to educators about the education budget .
LA Biking Gets Momentum Ciclovias , or days where streets are closed to cars, began as popular events in Bogota, Colombia and have spread to European and American cities, like New York's Summer Streets . Now LA is enjoying its first ciclovia, aptly-named CicLAvia , on 10/10/10. CicLAvia board member Amanda Bromberg says the event is an important one for the city. CicLAvia has full support from one very influential local cyclist. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he's working with activists like the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to craft the Los Angeles Bike Plan , which proposes hundreds of miles of bike lanes, bike paths, and "bike friendly" streets. Then, Art Center College of Design Transportation Chair Stewart Reed discusses biomorphic bikes, including the Felt AR series of high-performance road bike, which could help commuters mount the unique challenges of urban cycling in LA. Finally, Frances looks at the month's calendar of design and architectural events, including Santa Monica's massive art party, GLOW . Santa Monica's cultural affairs manager Jessica Cusick talks about what's planned for GLOW this weekend. Image: Geoff McFetridge's poster reminds drivers to give bikers three feet of margin
LA Budget Scuffle Continues Monday, the Department of Water and Power reneged on its promise to give the City of Los Angeles $73 million. Yesterday, Mayor Villaraigosa said that without that money, the city would have to shut down all but essential services for two days every week. City Councilman Paul Koretz called that a "game of chicken…absolutely a manhood contest," adding, "that's what it's been from the very beginning." For his part, Villaraigosa accused the Council of "demagoguery" and "the kind of scare tactics you saw around the healthcare debate" in Congress.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.