Antonio Villaraigosa

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Posted by pompos 04/10/2009 @ 12:07

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News headlines
Villaraigosa's deficit-reduction plans anger labor - Los Angeles Times
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a former union organizer and traditionally a friend of labor, but city unions are upset by some of his plans to close LA's budget gap. The Los Angeles mayor, a former union organizer, has risked alienating a key support...
Tempers heat up over council's move to freeze Villaraigosa's LAPD ... - Los Angeles Times
Last night, Rosendahl provided the tie-breaking vote on the council's Budget and Finance Committee, which split 3-2 to halt Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's LAPD hiring plan as a way to avoid layoffs. Although he is a longtime Villaraigosa ally,...
Endorsements may help sway key Latino voter base - Los Angeles Times
The backing of Antonio Villaraigosa and Dolores Huerta may boost Judy Chu's crucial crossover appeal. Gil Cedillo's support from popular Latino officials could mobilize the base in his favor. By Jean Merl On the day last month that Los Angeles Mayor...
Villaraigosa picks USC vice president for DWP board - Los Angeles Times
By David Zahniser Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has nominated Thomas S. Sayles, an appointee at the city's Industrial Development Authority, to fill a seat on the five-member commission that oversees the Department of Water and Power....
The ungovernable state - Economist
As a result, there is now a consensus among the political elite that California's governance is “fundamentally broken” and that the state is “ungovernable, unless we make tough choices”, as Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles and a likely...
Weiss campaign is a crucial test of Villaraigosa's clout - Los Angeles Times
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has lined up endorsements, hosted campaign fundraisers and asked friends to contribute money for Jack Weiss' race for city attorney. The mayor, weighing a gubernatorial run, has raised funds and rallied supporters to the side...
The LAPD must be frugal while maintaining its force - Los Angeles Times
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has, so far, made good on a promise to expand the Los Angeles Police Department at a steady pace. The City Council has backed him up, and we have cheered him on. Now that the recession has severely reduced revenue,...
Former LA pension board member may have broken ethics law - Los Angeles Times
By David Zahniser A pension board appointee of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may have violated city law by accepting a campaign donation from a Los Angeles businessman whose client sought a $10-million investment from the board....
Vice President Joe Biden tours South Los Angeles housing project - Los Angeles Times
He was joined by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) and HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Simms. “If our goal is to leave our communities better off than we found them, better off for those who come after, then we have to...
LAPD takes in 1700 weapons in gun buyback program - Los Angeles Times
“These are weapons whose sole purpose is to maim and kill people,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. A grenade launcher and other AR-15s, Uzis and AK-47s are among the arms traded for gift cards. By Richard Winton and Maeve Reston A gun buyback program...

Antonio Villaraigosa

Antonio Villaraigosa

Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa (born Antonio Ramon Villar, Jr. on January 23, 1953) is the mayor of Los Angeles, California. He is the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since 1872. Villaraigosa was elected mayor of Los Angeles in a run-off election on May 17, 2005, in which he defeated incumbent mayor James Hahn. Prior to his service as mayor, Villaraigosa was the California State Assemblyman for the 45th District, the Speaker of the California State Assembly, and the Los Angeles City Councilman representing the 14th District. Before being elected to public office, Villaraigosa had a long career as a labor organizer.

Villaraigosa also served as one of four national co-chairmen of Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 Presidential campaign, and as a member of President Barack Obama's Transition Economic Advisory Board.

Born Antonio Ramon Villar in the City Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles County's eastside, Villaraigosa attended both Catholic and public schools. He went to Harrison Elementary for third and fourth grade during 1961 and 1962. When Villaraigosa was in the 10th grade, he became paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal tumor. After it was removed, he was able to regain mobility. He attended Cathedral High School but was expelled from the Roman Catholic institution after getting into a fight after a football game. He graduated from Roosevelt High School, and with the help of his English teacher Herman Katz, went on to attend East Los Angeles College. Villaraigosa eventually transferred to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he completed a bachelor's degree in history. Villaraigosa was a leader of MEChA at UCLA. At this time, he went by the name "Tony Villar", but began using his birth name "Antonio" in the 1980s.

After UCLA, Villaraigosa attended the People's College of Law (PCL), an unaccredited law school in Los Angeles. Villaraigosa did not pass the California Bar Exam, and thus remains unlicensed to practice law. To date, he has taken the California Bar Exam four times.

After PCL, he became a field representative/organizer with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), where he met individuals that would help him make his move into politics, such as James M. Wood and Miguel Contreras, both deceased former Executive Treasurers of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Villaraigosa was also President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Government Employees.

Villaraigosa has two adult daughters, Marisela Villar and Prisila Villar-Contreras, born of a previous, nonmarital relationship.

As Antonio Villar, he married Corina Raigosa November 28, 1987 and adopted a combination of their last names as his family name. The couple have two teenage children, Natalia and Antonio Jr. On June 8, 2007, Villaraigosa announced he would be separating from his wife. On June 12, 2007, Corina Villaraigosa filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. Villaraigosa acknowledged on July 3, 2007, that he was in a relationship with a Spanish-language television reporter, Mirthala Salinas..

In 1994, Villaraigosa was elected to the California State Assembly, and four years later, his colleagues in the legislature voted to make him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years. During the four years before he was named Speaker, he served several other positions in the Assembly leadership. He eventually became one of the leading progressive voices in the state. He ran for mayor of Los Angeles in the 2001 citywide contest but was defeated by eight percent by fellow 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 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 Mayor Cristóbal Aguilar (mayor from 1866 to 1868 and again from 1870 until 1872) served as mayor.

The Nation attributes Villaraigosa's success in 2005 to his adding a significant number of African Americans to his earlier coalition of "Latinos, labor and white lefties", noting 2005 endorsements by Representative Maxine Waters (a Hahn supporter in 2001), influential resident and basketball star Magic Johnson, and City Council member (and former police chief) Bernard Parks.

While a member of the California state Assembly, then state Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa wrote the first letter to then President Bill Clinton on Carlos Vignali Jr.'s behalf on May 24, 1996 requesting clemency from Vignali Jr.'s drug trafficking conviction for which he had been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Released in March 2002 by the congressional Committee on Government Reform, "Justice Undone: Clemency Decisions in the Clinton White House" details Hugh Rodham's involvement in the Vignali, Jr. pardon, when revelations surfaced that then President Clinton granted clemency for Vignali Jr. The granting of clemency occurred after payments were made to Clinton's brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham, the brother of former first lady, New York state senator and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The report takes to task top L.A. elected officials, including then–state Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa, county Supervisor Gloria Molina, then–state Senator Richard Polanco and U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra, among others, for lobbying on behalf of Vignali Jr., in light of his drug conviction and the fact that DEA agents long suspected Vignali Sr. to be involved in drug trafficking.

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 Waxman to repeal the ban on subway tunneling in Los Angeles, which occurred in 2006. Metro has estimated that it will cost $4.8 billion to complete the subway, at $300 million a mile, and would take approximately 20 years.

On November 4, 2008, Los Angeles County voters passed Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase that is projected to generate up to $40 billion over thirty years for transportation, including funding for the "Subway to the Sea." Its passage was credited in large part to Villaraigosa, who lobbied the MTA and County Board of Supervisors to place it on the November ballot, and helped organize the fundraising efforts.

Since 2005, the Bureau of Street Services has claimed to have filled more than one million potholes in Los Angeles.

One of Villaraigosa's first executive directives banned road construction during rush hour in traffic-plagued Los Angeles.

Villaraigosa has taken served as Chairman of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and oversaw the final approval of the EIR for the proposed Exposition Line, the opening of the Orange Line busway through the San Fernando Valley, and the beginning of tunneling on the Eastside extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail.

Villaraigosa sought to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as one of his top priorities as mayor, but later backed away from the plan.

In his first State of the City address, he announced his intention to assume full control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, 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 passed both houses overwhelmingly and was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The plan continues to receive significant opposition among the Los Angeles Board of Education, Board President Marlene Canter, then-superintendent of LAUSD, Roy Romer, among others. The bill was ruled unconstitutional in Superior Court, a decision that was affirmed on appeal.

Villaraigosa introduced counter-incentives to keep U.S. film productions at home. Villaraigosa's proposals include eliminating fees for filming done on all city property and reducing business taxes for entertainment-related businesses. Another proposal includes a possible entertainment incentive zone to make it easier to locate film production in the city.

Villaraigosa is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino. Villaraigosa created a panel of Homeland Security Advisors, a group of approximately 40 leaders, including former Mayor Richard Riordan and Police Chief William Bratton. In 2006, Villaraigosa proposed an increase of trash fees to hire about 1,000 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers over the next four years. The proposal was passed by the Los Angeles City Council.

In a televised interview with ABC Channel 7, on August 12, 2007, Villaraigosa announced that the City will uphold the law of the State of California about the medicinal use of marijuana. Villaraigosa added that the State's Compassionate Use Act 1996 and/or Senate Bill 420, allowed for dispensaries and that the city would continue to monitor the dispensaries in place; that they do not break any laws. The LAPD has taken the position that they would uphold federal law against marijuana whatever the purpose of it, as it is against federal law for anyone to use, possess, or cultivate marijuana because the U.S. federal government does not officially recognize cannabis 'marijuana' as a medicine nor having any medicinal benefits. However, in March 2009, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Federal Government was no longer going to pursue cases against clinics in states that have laws allowing its medical use.

Villaraigosa has pledged to make Los Angeles the greenest city in America.

Los Angeles generates 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, having started at 2 per cent when Villaraigosa was first elected. Los Angeles is on track to generate 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010 and will reach 35 per cent by 2020, outstripping Kyoto targets as well as those set for California by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Villaraigosa also launched a Clean Trucks program that banned nearly 2,000 diesel vehicles built before 1989 from entering the ports. Operators were offered incentives to switch to cleaner trucks and almost 600 companies signed up. By 2012, 16,000 diesel trucks will have been taken off the road as a result of the scheme. “It’s the most far-reaching clean-air action plan in the nation,” Villaraigosa told the Financial Times.

Although the Clean Trucks program is at an early stage, it has attracted global attention; the city has been approached by international port operators wanting to learn how to improve environmental conditions at their own facilities.

Villaraigosa also set aside a large parcel of industrial land around the Los Angeles River to create what city officials are dubbing 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 has also been set aside for a manufacturing center, which Villaraigosa hopes will attract new businesses.

Villaraigosa has been featured on the cover of Newsweek with the accompanying headline, "Latino Power", and in Time as one of the country's 25 most influential Latinos. However, his marital issues in 2007 may have damaged his reputation among some, locally and nationally.

A November 4, 2008 election day poll conducted by Leavy Center at Loyola Marymount University found that Villaraigosa had a job approval rating of 61 percent.

On May 6, 2006, Villaraigosa was awarded an honorary degree by Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and was the Class of 2006 Commencement Speaker. On May 12, 2006, he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Southern California (USC) and was the Class of 2006 commencement speaker.

On September 24, 2007, Mayor Villaraigosa received the Seven Seals Award, the highest honor awarded by the Department of Defense to a civilian. The award is symbolic of the seven services that comprise the reserve components and is bestowed upon employers who actively support their employees in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

Political experts called Villaraigosa's future in state and national politics into question by his relatively poor performance in the 2009 election. Villaraigosa received barely a majority of the vote despite facing nine relative unknowns and spending 15 times as much money as the second place finisher. One columnist summarized Villaraigosa's poor showing as follows: "Villaraigosa stepped into the batter's box on Tuesday, swung and missed twice, and legged out a weak infield hit." . Villaraigosa's poor showing comes at a time when his opposition for higher office, such as governor or senator, is solidifying, with Mayor Gavin Newsome and Attorney-General Jerry brown now in the race.

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Los Angeles

Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California

Los Angeles (pronounced /lɒs ˈændʒələs/ los-AN-jə-ləs; Spanish pronunciation: ) is the largest city in the state of California and the second largest in the United States. Often abbreviated as L.A. and nicknamed The City of Angels, Los Angeles is rated as a beta world city, has an estimated population of 3.8 million and spans over 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2) in Southern California. Additionally, the Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to nearly 12.9 million residents, who hail from all over the globe and speak 224 different languages. Los Angeles is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most diverse counties in the United States. Its inhabitants are known as "Angelenos" or "Angelinos" (/ændʒɨˈliːnoʊz/) when using the proper Spanish language spelling.

Los Angeles was founded September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de la Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola). It became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its independence from Spain. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War, Los Angeles and California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States; Mexico retained the territory of Baja California. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.

Los Angeles is one of the world's centers of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. As the home base of Hollywood, it is known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World," leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production and recorded music. The importance of the entertainment business to the city results in many celebrities calling Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home.

The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes thousands of years ago. The first Europeans arrived in 1542 under Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer who claimed the area as the City of God for the Spanish Empire. However, he continued with his voyage and did not establish a settlement. The next contact would not come until 227 years later, when Gaspar de Portola, along with Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. Crespí noted that the site had the potential to be developed into a large settlement.

In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra built the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel near Whittier Narrows, in what is now called San Gabriel Valley. In 1777, the new governor of California, Felipe de Neve, recommended to Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, viceroy of New Spain that the site noted by Juan Crespí be developed into a pueblo. The town was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores." Tradition has it that on this day they were escorted by four Spanish colonial soldiers, two priests from the Mission and Governor de Neve. The town was named El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the Porciúncula River). These pueblo settlers came from the common Hispanic culture that had emerged in northern Mexico among a racially mixed society. Two-thirds of the settlers were mestizo or mulatto, and therefore, had African and Indian ancestry. More importantly, they were intermarrying. The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820 the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.

New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico, made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.

Railroads arrived when the Southern Pacific completed its line to Los Angeles in 1876. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923 Los Angeles was producing one-quarter of the world's petroleum.

By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000 people, putting pressure on the city's water supply. 1913's completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city.

In the 1920s, the motion picture and aviation industries flocked to Los Angeles. In 1932, with population surpassing one million, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.

The post-war years saw an even greater boom, as urban sprawl expanded the city into the San Fernando Valley. In 1969, Los Angeles became one of the birthplaces of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from UCLA to SRI in Menlo Park.

Also in the 1980s, Los Angeles became the center of the heavy metal music scene, especially glam metal bands. In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became the most financially successful in history, and only the second Olympics to turn a profit – the other being the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles.

During the remaining decades of the 20th century, the city was plagued by increasing gang warfare, drug trades, and police corruption. Racial tensions erupted again in 1992 with the Rodney King controversy and the large-scale riots that followed the acquittal of his police attackers. In 1994, the 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.

Voters defeated efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city in 2002.

Gentrification and urban redevelopment have occurred in many parts of the city, most notably Hollywood, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown.

Los Angeles is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 498.3 square miles (1,291 km2), comprising 469.1 square miles (1,214.9 km2) of land and 29.2 square miles (75.7 km2) of water. The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) longitudinally and for 29 miles (47 km) latitudinally. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km). It is the only major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range.

The highest point in Los Angeles is Mount Lukens, also called Sister Elsie Peak. Located at the far reaches of the northeastern San Fernando Valley, it reaches a height of 5,080 ft (1,548 m). The major river is the Los Angeles River, which begins in the Canoga Park district of the city and is largely seasonal. The river is lined in concrete for almost its entire length as it flows through the city into nearby Vernon on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability produces numerous fault lines both above and below ground, which altogether cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes every year. One of the major fault lines is the San Andreas Fault. Located at the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, it is predicted to be the source of Southern California's next big earthquake. Major earthquakes to have hit the Los Angeles area include the 2008 Chino Hills earthquake, 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, the 1971 San Fernando earthquake near Sylmar, and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Nevertheless, all but a few quakes are of low intensity and are not felt. The most recent earthquake felt was the 5.4 Chino Hills earthquake on July 29 2008. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to Pacific Ocean tsunamis; harbor areas were damaged by waves from the Valdivia earthquake in 1960. The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes.

Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland). Los Angeles enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 263 sunshine days and only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.

The period of May through October is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 74 - 84°F (24 - 29°C) and lows of 58 - 66°F (14 - 19°C), however temperatures frequently exceed 90°F (32°C) and occasionally reach 100°F (38°C) in inland areas (away from the moderating effect of the ocean).

The period of November through April is mild and somewhat rainy with average high temperatures of 68 - 73°F (20 - 23°C) and lows of 48 - 53°F (9 - 12°C), but temperatures could occasionally drop to low 40s (~5°C) or be as high as 80°F (26°C) for few days during winter.

The Los Angeles area is also subject to the phenomenon typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18°F (10°C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes gives overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.

Los Angeles averages 15 inches (385 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November thru April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. The coast gets slightly lower rainfall, while the mountains gets slightly higher rainfall. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits slopes typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 cm) in 1932.

The Los Angeles area is rich in native plant species due in part to a diversity in habitats, including beaches, wetlands, and mountains. The most prevalent botanical environment is coastal sage scrub, which covers the hillsides in combustible chaparral. Native plants include: California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, Coast Live Oak, and giant wild rye grass. Many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower, have become so rare as to be considered endangered. Though they are not native to the area, the official tree of Los Angeles is the tropical Coral Tree and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae.

The name given by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans for the area now known as Los Angeles translates to "the valley of smoke." because of the smog from native campfires. Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources. Unlike other large cities that rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (381 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low emission vehicles.

As a result, pollution levels have dropped in recent decades. The number of Stage 1 smog alerts has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel. With pollution still a significant problem, the city continues to take aggressive steps to improve air and water conditions.

The city is divided into many neighborhoods, many of which were incorporated places or communities that were annexed by the city. There are also several independent cities around Los Angeles, but they are popularly grouped with the city of Los Angeles, either due to being completely engulfed as enclaves by Los Angeles, or lying within its immediate vicinity. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, Northeast - including Highland Park and Eagle Rock areas, the Eastside, South Los Angeles (still often colloquially referred to as South Central by locals), the Harbor Area, Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside and the San Fernando and Crescenta Valleys.

Some well-known communities within Los Angeles include West Adams, Watts, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice Beach, the Downtown Financial District, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Koreatown, Westwood and the more affluent areas of Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Century City, and Brentwood.

Important landmarks in Los Angeles include Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Capitol Records Tower, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Watts Towers, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium and La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street.

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates the city's population was 51.0% White (29.3% non-Hispanic White alone), 10.6% Black or African American, 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native, 11.4% Asian, 0.3% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 28.6% from some other race and 2.8% from two or more races. 48.5% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The 2000 census recorded 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,407 families residing in the city, with a population density of 7,876.8 people per square mile (3,041.3/km2). There were 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 2,851.8 per square mile (1,101.1/km2). Los Angeles has become a multiethnic/diverse city, with major new groups of Latino and Asian immigrants in recent decades. As of the 2000 US Census, the racial distribution in Los Angeles was 46.9% White American, 11.2% African American, 10.5% Asian American, 0.8% Native American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 25.7% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. 46.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

42.2% spoke English, 41.7% Spanish, 2.4% Korean, 2.3% Filipino, 1.7% Armenian, 1.5% Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) and 1.3% Persian as their first language.

According to the census, 33.5% of households had children under 18, 41.9% were married couples, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 28.5% of households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size 3.56.

The age distribution was: 26.6% under 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.

The median income for a household was $36,687, and for a family was $39,942. Males had a median income of $31,880, females $30,197. The per capita income was $20,671. 22.1% of the population and 18.3% of families were below the poverty line. 30.3% of those under the age of 18 and 12.6% of those aged 65 or older were below the poverty line.

Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages. Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo, and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot character of Los Angeles.

The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, interactive games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing center in the western United States. The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the fifth busiest port in the world and the most significant port in the Western Hemisphere and is vital to trade within the Pacific Rim. Other significant industries include media production, finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. The Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $697.9 billion (as of 2007), making it the second largest economic center in the Western Hemisphere, after New York City. If the Los Angeles CSA were a country, its economy would rank 17th in the world in terms of nominal GDP.

Until the mid-1990s, Los Angeles was home to many major financial institutions in the western United States. Mergers meant reporting to headquarters in other cities. For instance, First Interstate Bancorp merged with Wells Fargo in 1996, Great Western Bank merged with Washington Mutual in 1998, and Security Pacific Bank merged with Bank of America in 1992. Los Angeles was also home to the Pacific Exchange, until it closed in 2001.

The city has six major Fortune 500 companies, including aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, energy company Occidental Petroleum, healthcare provider Health Net, homebuilder KB Home, and real estate group CB Richard Ellis.

Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles include 20th Century Fox, Latham & Watkins, Univision, Metro Interactive, LLC, Premier America, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, DeviantArt, Guess?, O’Melveny & Myers; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Tokyopop, The Jim Henson Company, Paramount Pictures, Robinsons-May, Sunkist Growers, Incorporated, Fox Sports Net, Capital Group, 21st century Insurance and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Korean Air's US passenger and cargo operations headquarters are located in two separate offices in Los Angeles.

The metropolitan area contains the headquarters of companies who moved outside of the city to escape its taxes but keep the benefits of proximity. For example, Los Angeles charges a gross receipts tax based on a percentage of business revenue, while many neighboring cities charge only small flat fees. The companies below benefit from their proximity to Los Angeles, while at the same time avoiding the city's taxes (and other problems). Some of the major companies headquartered in the cities of Los Angeles county are Shakey's Pizza (Alhambra), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Beverly Hills), City National Bank (Beverly Hills), Hilton Hotels (Beverly Hills), DIC Entertainment (Burbank), The Walt Disney Company (Fortune 500 – Burbank), Warner Bros. (Burbank), Countrywide Financial (Fortune 500 – Calabasas), THQ (Calabasas), Belkin (Compton), Sony Pictures Entertainment (parent of Columbia Pictures, located in Culver City), DirecTV (El Segundo), Mattel (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), Unocal Corporation (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), DreamWorks (Glendale), Sea Launch (Long Beach), ICANN (Marina del Rey), Cunard Line (Santa Clarita), Princess Cruises (Santa Clarita), Activision (Santa Monica), and RAND (Santa Monica).

The University of Southern California (USC) is the city's largest private sector employer and contributes $4 billion annually to the local economy.

The people of Los Angeles are known as Angelenos. Nighttime hot spots include places such as Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake, Hollywood, and West Hollywood, which is the home of the world-famous Sunset Strip.

Some well-known shopping areas are the Hollywood and Highland complex, the Beverly Center, Melrose Avenue, Robertson Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, The Grove, Westside Pavilion, Westfield Century City, The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center and Venice Boardwalk.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles leads the largest archdiocese in the country. Cardinal Roger Mahony oversaw construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, completed in 2002 at the north end of downtown. Construction of the cathedral marked a coming of age of the Catholic, heavily Latino community. There are numerous Catholic churches and parishes throughout the city.

The Los Angeles California Temple, the second largest temple operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is on Santa Monica Boulevard in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. Dedicated in 1956, it was the first Mormon temple built in California and it was the largest in the world when completed. The grounds includes a visitors' center open to the public, the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center, also open to the public, and the headquarters for the Los Angeles mission.

With 621,000 Jews in the metropolitan area (490,000 in city proper), the region has second largest population of Jews in the United States. Many synagogues of the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist movements can be found throughout the city. Most are located in the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles. The area in West Los Angeles around Fairfax and Pico Boulevards contains a large number of Orthodox Jews. The Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles, built in 1923, was the largest synagogue west of Chicago in its early decades. (It is no longer a sacred space and is being converted to a museum and community center.) The Kabbalah Centre, devoted to one line of Jewish mysticism, is also in the city.

Because of Los Angeles' large multi-ethnic population, a wide variety of faiths are practiced, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Bahá'í, various Eastern Orthodox Churches, Sufism and others. Immigrants from Asia for example, have formed a number of significant Buddhist congregations making the city home to the greatest variety of Buddhists in the world.

The major daily newspaper in the area is the Los Angeles Times; La Opinión is the city's major Spanish-language paper. Investor's Business Daily is distributed from its L.A. corporate offices, which are headquartered in Playa Del Rey. There are also a number of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines, including the Daily News (which focuses coverage on the San Fernando Valley), LA Weekly, Los Angeles CityBeat, L.A. Record (which focuses coverage on the music scene in the Greater Los Angeles area), Los Angeles magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal (legal industry paper), The Hollywood Reporter and Variety (entertainment industry papers), and Los Angeles Downtown News. In addition to the English- and Spanish-language papers, numerous local periodicals serve immigrant communities in their native languages, including Armenian, Korean, Persian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Many cities adjacent to Los Angeles also have their own daily newspapers whose coverage and availability overlaps into certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. Examples include The Daily Breeze (serving the South Bay), and The Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Los Angeles and New York City are the only two media markets to have all seven VHF allocations possible assigned to them.

The city's first television station (and the first in California) was KTLA, which began broadcasting on January 22, 1947. The major network-affiliated television stations in this city are KABC-TV 7 (ABC), KCBS 2 (CBS), KNBC 4 (NBC), KTTV 11 (FOX), KTLA 5 (The CW), and KCOP-TV 13 (MyNetworkTV), and KPXN 30 (i). There are also three PBS stations in the area, including KCET 28, KOCE-TV 50, and KLCS 58. World TV operates on two channels, KNET-LP 25 and KSFV-LP 6. There are also several Spanish-language television networks, including KMEX-TV 34 (Univision), KFTR 46 (TeleFutura), KVEA 52 (Telemundo), and KAZA 54 (Azteca América). KTBN 40 (Trinity Broadcasting Network), is a religious station in the area.

Several independent television stations also operate in the area, including KCAL-TV 9 (owned by CBS Corporation), KSCI 18 (focuses primarily on Asian language programming), KWHY-TV 22 (Spanish-language), KNLA-LP 27 (Spanish-language), KSMV-LP 33 (variety)—a low power relay of Ventura-based KJLA 57—KPAL-LP 38, KXLA 44, KDOC-TV 56 (classic programming and local sports), KJLA 57 (variety), and KRCA 62 (Spanish-language).

Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles D-Fenders an Nba Development team owned by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, the Los Angeles Riptide of Major League Lacrosse, and the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. Los Angeles is also home to the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins in the NCAA, both of which are Division I teams in the Pacific-10 Conference. Several more teams are in the greater Los Angeles media market: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League are both based in nearby Anaheim; and the Los Angeles Galaxy and Club Deportivo Chivas USA of Major League Soccer are both based in neighboring Carson. The city is the largest in the U.S. without an NFL team.

There was a time when Los Angeles boasted two NFL teams, the Rams and the Raiders. Both left the city in 1995, with the Rams moving to St. Louis and the Raiders heading back to Oakland. Los Angeles is the second-largest city and television market in the United States, but has no NFL team (see List of television stations in North America by media market). Prior to 1995, the Rams called Memorial Coliseum (1946-1979) and Anaheim Stadium (1980-1994) home; and the Raiders played their home games at Memorial Coliseum from 1982 to 1994.

Since the franchise's departures the NFL as an organization, and individual NFL owners, have attempted to relocate a team to the city. Immediately following the 1995 NFL season, Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring went as far as packing up moving vans to start play in the Rose Bowl under a new team name and logo for the 1996 season. The State of Washington filed a law suit to successfully prevent the move. In 2003, then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue indicated L.A. would get a new expansion team, a thirty-third franchise, after the choice of Houston over L.A. in the 2002 league expansion round. When the New Orleans Saints were displaced from the Superdome by Hurricane Katrina media outlets reported the NFL was planning to move the team to Los Angeles permanently. Despite these efforts, and the failure to build a new stadium for an NFL team, L.A. is still expected to return to the league through expansion or relocation.

Los Angeles has twice played host to the summer Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 1984. When the tenth Olympic Games were hosted in 1932, the former 10th Street was renamed Olympic Blvd. Super Bowls I and VII were also held in the city as well as soccer's international World Cup in 1994.

Los Angeles also boasts a number of sports venues, including Staples Center, a sports and entertainment complex that also hosts concerts and awards shows such as the Grammys. Staples Center also serves as the home arena for the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL and the Avengers of the AFL.

The city is governed by a mayor-council system. The current mayor is Antonio Villaraigosa. There are 15 city council districts. Other elected city officials include the City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and the City Controller Laura N. Chick. The city attorney prosecutes misdemeanors within the city limits. The district attorney, elected by county voters, prosecutes misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the 88 cities in the county, as well as felonies throughout the county.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles, but the city also maintains four specialized police agencies; The Office of Public Safety, within the General Services Department (which is responsible for security and law enforcement services at city facilities, including City Hall, city parks and libraries, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Convention Center), the Port Police, within the Harbor Department (which is responsible for land, air and sea law enforcement services at the Port of Los Angeles), the Los Angeles City Schools Police department which handles law enforcement for all city schools, and the Airport Police, within the Los Angeles World Airports Department (which is responsible for law enforcement services at all four city-owned airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), LA/Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD), and Van Nuys Airport (VNY).

Voters created Neighborhood Councils in the Charter Reform of 1999. First proposed by City Council member Joel Wachs in 1996, they were designed to promote public participation in government and make it more responsive to local needs.

The councils cover districts which are not necessarily identical to the traditional neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Almost ninety neighborhood councils (NCs) are certified and all "stakeholders" — meaning anyone who lives, works or owns property in a neighborhood — may vote for members of the councils' governing bodies. Some council bylaws allow other people with a stake in the community to cast ballots as well.

The councils are official government bodies and so their governing bodies and committees must abide by California's Brown Act, which governs the meetings of deliberative assemblies.

The first notable concern of the neighborhood councils collectively was the opposition by some of them in March 2004 to an 18% increase in water rates by the city's Department of Water and Power. This led the City Council to approve only a limited increase pending independent review. More recently, some of the councils petitioned the City Council in summer 2006 to allow them to introduce ideas for legislative action, but the City Council put off a decision.

The neighborhood councils have been allocated $50,000 each for administration, outreach and approved neighborhood projects.

Los Angeles has been experiencing significant decline in crime since the mid-1990s, and hit a record low in 2007, with 392 homicides. Antonio Villaraigosa is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.

There are three public universities located within the city limits: California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Private colleges in the city include the American Film Institute Conservatory, Alliant International University, American InterContinental University, American Jewish University, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy - Los Angeles campus, Antioch University's Los Angeles campus, Art Center College of Design (Art Center), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising's Los Angeles campus (FIDM), Los Angeles Film School, Loyola Marymount University (LMU is also the parent university of Loyola Law School located in Los Angeles), Mount St. Mary's College, National University of California, New York Film Academy in Universal City, CA, Occidental College ("Oxy"), Otis College of Art and Design (Otis), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Southwestern Law School, and University of Southern California (USC).

The community college system consists of nine campuses governed by the trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District: East Los Angeles College (ELAC), Los Angeles City College (LACC), Los Angeles Harbor College, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and West Los Angeles College.

Los Angeles Unified School District serves almost all of the city of Los Angeles, as well as several surrounding communities, with a student population over 800,000. After Proposition 13 was approved in 1978, urban school districts had considerable trouble with funding. LAUSD has become known for its underfunded, overcrowded and poorly maintained campuses, although its 162 Magnet schools help compete with local private schools. Several small sections of Los Angeles are in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Los Angeles County Office of Education operates the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. The Los Angeles Public Library system operates 72 public libraries in the city.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other agencies operate an extensive system of bus lines, as well as subway and light rail lines across Los Angeles County, with a combined daily ridership of 1.7 million. The majority of this (1.4 million) is taken up by the city's bus system, the second busiest in the country. The subway and light rail combined average the remaining roughly 319,000 boardings per weekday. Altogether, public transit ridership is much lower than many other large cities, with 12% of Los Angeles commuters riding public transportation.

The city's subway system is the ninth busiest in the United States and its light rail system is the country's third busiest.

The rail system includes the Red and Purple subway lines, as well as the Gold, Blue, and Green light rail lines. The Metro Rapid buses are a bus rapid transit program with stops and frequency similar those of a light rail. The city is also central to the commuter rail system Metrolink which links Los Angeles to all neighboring counties as well as many suburbs.

The main Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX). The fifth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States, LAX handled over 61 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo in 2006.

The world's third busiest general-aviation airport is also located in Los Angeles, Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY).

The Port of Los Angeles is located in San Pedro Bay in the San Pedro neighborhood, approximately 20 miles (30 km) south of Downtown. Also called Los Angeles Harbor and WORLDPORT LA, the port complex occupies 7,500 acres (30 km2) of land and water along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront. It adjoins the separate Port of Long Beach.

The sea ports of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach together make up the Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbor. There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along L.A.'s coastline. Safety is provided at the only beach controlled by Los Angeles City by the highly trained Los Angeles City Lifeguards.

The port includes four bridges: the Vincent Thomas Bridge, Henry Ford Bridge, Gerald Desmond Bridge, and Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge.

In 2007, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also recognized a cultural exchange partnership with Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Richard Riordan

Richard Riordan

Richard J. Riordan (born May 1, 1930) is a Republican politician from California, U.S.A. who served as the California Secretary of Education from 2003–2005 and as Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993–2001. Riordan ran for Governor of California unsuccessfully in 2002.

Riordan, an Irish-American, was born in Flushing, New York and attended Princeton University, earning a degree in philosophy. He then served in the Korean War, and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1956. Shortly thereafter he received an inheritance from his father. He invested the money in four firms — Control Data Corporation, Litton Industries, Haloid (predecessor of Xerox), and Syntex — and within a few years had converted an $80,000 investment into almost $500,000.

He moved to Los Angeles to begin work as an attorney for the downtown law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, but spent the next several years at a number of law firms including Nossaman LLP all the while honing his skills as a venture capitalist. Among his successes were the first company to produce low-cost cassette tapes, as well as a $650,000 investment in Convergent Technologies which soared to $19.9 million when it was acquired by Unisys in 1985.

In 1975, Richard Riordan co-founded Riordan & McKinzie, a boutique law firm in Los Angeles. The firm later merged with Bingham McCutcheon in July 2003.

In 1983, Riordan was co-founder of Riordan, Freeman & Spogli, a private equity firm, along with Bradford Freeman and Ronald Spogli. Riordan focused primarily on venture capital investments computer, medical and semiconductor companies.

The firm made its name in the 1980s through a series of leveraged buyout transactions, most notable of which was the 1984 buyout of Mattel. Throughout the 1980s, Riordan, Freeman & Spogli also executed leveraged buyouts of a series of supermarket retailers including Bayless Southwest (Phoenix), Boys Markets (Los Angeles), P&C Foods (Syracuse, Piggly Wiggly (various Southern states) and Tops Markets (New York and Pennsylvania).

In 1988 he formed a venture capital firm called Riordan, Lewis & Haden with J. Christopher Lewis and former Los Angeles Rams and USC quarterback Pat Haden. Riordan had separated from the other two partners of Riordan, Freeman & Spogli (subsequently renamed Freeman Spogli & Co.) in 1988, when they decided to specialize primarily in larger leveraged buyouts of more mature companies. Riordan relinquished his general partner position in the firm to form Riordan, Lewis & Haden.

Today Riordan, Lewis & Haden is a small private equity firm focusing on growth capital investments in middle-market companies.

When Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley announced his retirement, Riordan's interest turned to the 1993 mayoral election. It was to be a pivotal election for several reasons. Bradley had served in office for five terms, so the winner would be the first new face in two decades. During this time Los Angeles had become a major world city, but had also witnessed a dramatic rise in crime, especially gang violence, traffic, and other problems damaging the city's quality of life. The booming economy of the previous three decades had fizzled. Racial tensions had risen with the LAPD under Chief Daryl Gates under sharp criticism for his tactics. Overshadowing and overarching all were the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which followed the acquittal of four LAPD officers accused of beating African-American motorist Rodney King.

Riordan and Mike Woo, City Councilman for Hollywood, emerged as the leading candidates in a fierce and bitter race. Although municipal elections in California are non-partisan, the news media observed that Republican Riordan and Democrat Woo contrasted starkly. Riordan campaigned as a businessman "tough enough to turn L.A. around." He promised to crack down on crime, stating that "from a safe city, all else follows," by hiring 3,000 additional police officers, and to shore up the city's finances and business environment by reducing regulation and contracting private firms to operate LAX. Riordan spent several million dollars on his campaign out of his own pocket. Woo's campaign criticized the police and attacked Riordan as too wealthy and too white to understand the issues of concern to the ordinary Angeleno.

On election day, Riordan won a decisive victory, 54%-46%, becoming the first Republican mayor in over thirty years. Many of his proposals were blocked by the heavily Democratic City Council or proved simply unfeasible in reality; for example, the police academy did not have enough classroom space and instructors to train as many new police officers as Riordan had initially promised. Nevertheless, he was seen as successful. He streamlined certain business regulations and established "one-stop" centers around the city for functions such as permit applications. He feuded with Gates' successor, former Philadelphia police commissioner Willie Williams, but oversaw a general decline in crime. (In 1997, Riordan replaced Williams with LAPD veteran Bernard Parks.) In 1997, he was reelected in a landslide against California State Senator Tom Hayden.

Riordan's tenure was marked by a controversy over the massive cost overruns occurring during the construction of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Red Line subway, a project close to his heart. At the same time, a previously little-known group called the Bus Riders Union sued the city — on the basis of racial discrimination — over diversion of funds from buses to Red Line construction, and managed to force it into a ten-year consent decree in 1996 that eviscerated MTA funding for the construction of subway and light rail projects. Riordan has publicly lamented signing the consent decree and counts it as the biggest mistake of his mayoral tenure.

Riordan tackled the problem of governing the sprawling city by spearheading the creation of neighborhood-based councils, to provide community organizations a way to participate in governance. He paid special attention to improving the state of the Los Angeles Unified School District; while he had no direct jurisdiction over that body, he campaigned heavily for reform-oriented candidates. He further invested his own personal money into California's school system, spending nearly $50 million for new classroom furnishings, including computers. Indeed, while mayor, Riordan was noted for taking a salary of only $1 per year, instead living comfortably off his wealth. In 1999 he backed a City Charter reform that curtailed the ability of members of the City Council to block reforms.

Riordan was succeeded in 2001 by James K. Hahn after being term-limited out of office; in fact, it was Riordan who spearheaded the city's term limit ballot initiative, prior to becoming mayor. In the mayoral primary election that year, Riordan had endorsed his advisor and friend Steve Soboroff. Soboroff came in third in the nonpartisan race, and Hahn and former California State Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa advanced to the runoff. In the runoff election, Hahn defeated Villaraigosa, whom Riordan endorsed for the second round of balloting. Villaraigosa would go on to beat Hahn in a 2005 rematch for Mayor.

In 2002, Riordan, a moderate Republican, decided to seek the governorship. He was opposed in the Republican primary election by conservative businessman Bill Simon and former California Secretary of State Bill Jones. Although he led early in the race by over 30 percentage points, he eventually lost to Simon by 18 percent.

One controversial aspect of his loss was the fact that Governor Gray Davis' campaign spent millions of dollars running attack ads against Riordan — essentially helping the Simon campaign. It is very rare for a candidate to try to influence the other party's primary in such a manner; however, Davis felt that he had a much better chance against the conservative Simon than the moderate Riordan, and that the move was worth the risk. Riordan lost the primary, and Davis went on to defeat Simon 47%–42% in the general election.

When Davis was removed by the 2003 California recall, there was speculation that Riordan might run for his office. However, after friend and fellow moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his intention to run, Riordan decided against running himself. He endorsed Schwarzenegger, and, following his victory, served on his transition team, and was appointed to the cabinet as Secretary of Education. Riordan left the position on June 30, 2005.

Not known for his eloquence, Riordan became the center of a media circus, due to a remark made July 1, 2004 to a 6-year-old girl, Isis D'Luciano, in Santa Barbara. During a children's library event, she asked Riordan if he knew what her name, Isis, meant. Riordan responded, "it means stupid, dirty girl," laughed with several others in the crowd, and then asked her what it really meant. She then replied, "It means 'Egyptian goddess'," to which Riordan stated, "That's nifty." He later explained it as a failed attempt at humor. Although Governor Schwarzenegger continued to support him, Riordan's resignation was demanded by State Assemblyman Mervyn M. Dymally, citizens' rights groups, and civil rights groups, including the NAACP, and LULAC. The NAACP, however, rescinded their insistence after learning that the girl was white.

In early 2003 Riordan began circulating a prototype of a weekly newspaper he intended to begin publishing that June. The Los Angeles Examiner was intended to be a locally-focused, sophisticated, and politically-independent publication. , It was never published. Riordan put the project on hold when he was appointed state secretary of education.

Richard Riordan has maintained a close relationship with the current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. There have been articles written about their relationship and similar governing themes; in fact, several pictures of Villaraigosa and Riordan together hang in the Mayor's entry hallway to his City Hall office.

Richard Riordan is known to have an icy relationship with his immediate successor, former Mayor James Hahn. While Riordan was Mayor, he and then-City Attorney Hahn disagreed on several issues, the most prominent being the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart Scandal.

In the 2001 election for Mayor, Riordan endorsed his friend and advisor Steve Soboroff in the primary and Antonio Villaraigosa in the general election. In 2005, he backed former State Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg in the primary and Antonio Villaraigosa in the general election. In both races, he chose not to endorse James Hahn.

Richard Riordan has played a role in City Council elections as well, becoming a major supporter of candidates Bill Rosendahl in 2005, Monica Rodriguez in 2007 and Adeena Bleich in 2009. Rosendahl won election and currently represents the Eleventh District; Rodriguez lost to Seventh District Councilman Richard Alarcon and Bleich lost to Paul Koretz and David Vahedi who are currently in a runoff election for the Fifth District seat.

The downtown branch of the LA City library is named after him.

Richard Riordan is also a restaurateur. Prior to becoming Mayor, he purchased the landmark Original Pantry Cafe in Downtown Los Angeles, just a block from Staples Center. He also owns Gladstones 4 Fish in Pacific Palisades, California and recently acquired Mort's Deli, which has become somewhat of an institution in Pacific Palisades, California.

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Los Angeles Unified School District

Leo Politi Elementary School, Los Angeles, California

The school district consists of Los Angeles and all or portions of several adjoining Southern California cities. LAUSD has its own police force, the Los Angeles School Police Department, which was established in 1948 to provide police services for LAUSD schools . The LAUSD enrolls a third of the preschoolers in Los Angeles County, and operates almost as many buses as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The LAUSD school construction program rivals the Big Dig in terms of expenditures, and LAUSD cafeterias serve about 500,000 meals a day, rivaling the output of local McDonald's restaurants.

In 2007, LAUSD's dropout rate was 33.6 percent for grades 9 through 12.

Los Angeles Unified School District is governed by a seven-member Board of Education, which appoints a superintendent, who runs the daily operations of the district. Members of the board are elected directly by voters from separate districts that encompass communities that the LAUSD serves. The district's current superintendent is Ramon Cortines, after the school board decided to buyout the contract of David M. Brewer III, a former Navy Vice-Admiral who served as head of the Navy's Education and Training Division and was in charge of the SeaLift Command. From 2001 until his retirement in October, 2006, the district was led by former Colorado governor and Democratic Party chairman Roy Romer.

The seven current members of Board of Education include Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte (District 1), Board President Monica Garcia (District 2),Tamar Galatzan (District 3), Marlene Canter (District 4), Yolie Flores Aguilar (District 5), Julie Korenstein (District 6), and Richard Vladovic (District 7).

Every LAUSD household or residential area is zoned to an elementary school, a middle school and a high school, in one of the eight local school districts. Each local school district is run by an area superintendent and is headquartered within the district.

The Los Angeles Unified School District was once composed of two separate districts: the Los Angeles City School District, formed on September 19, 1853, and the Los Angeles City High School District, formed in 1890. The latter provided 9-12 educational services, while the former did so for K-8. The two school districts merged to create what is today the LAUSD on July 1, 1961.

The annexation left the Topanga School District and the Las Vergenes Union High School District (then renamed to the West County Union High School District) as separate remnants of the high school district. LAUSD annexed the Topanga district and, as it had the same boundaries as the Topanga district, the West County Union High School District, on July 1, 1962.

In 1963, a lawsuit, Crawford v. Board of Ed. of Los Angeles was filed to end segregation in the district. The California Supreme Court required the district to come up with a plan in 1977. The board returned to court with what the court of appeal years later would describe as "one of if not the most drastic plan of mandatory student reassignment in the nation." A desegregation busing plan was developed to be implemented in the 1978 school year. Two suits to stop the enforced busing plan, both titled Bustop, Inc. v. Los Angeles Bd. of Ed., were filed by the group Bustop Inc. and were petitioned to the United States Supreme Court.. The petitions to stop the busing plan were subsequently denied by Justice Rehnquist and Justice Powell. California Constitutional Proposition 1, which mandated that busing follow the Equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution passed in 1979 with 70% of the vote. The Crawford v. Board of Ed. of Los Angeles lawsuit was heard in the Supreme Court in 1982. The Supreme Court upheld the decision that Proposition 1 was constitutional.

Various attempts at program reform have been implemented. First, individual schools were given more authority over day to day decisions, and public school choice was implemented. In the 1990s, LEARN and LAAMP were created, giving principals even more authority to make changes in curriculum to benefit students. Regardless, student achievement failed to increase.

Later reform led to the creation of 11 lettered minidistricts with decentralized management and their own individual superintendents . Due to the cost of this additional bureaucracy, then Superintendent Romer called for merging the minidistricts. United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing LAUSD teachers, supported this plan. Eight numbered Local Districts arose from the merger replacing the 11 lettered districts.

On November 16, 2007, the WorldNet Daily posted "Battle-scarred 'sub' in L.A. barrios speaks out" by Migdia Chinea Varela, a screenwriter and former substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Chinea stated that, in many schools she served, the students had no interest in learning, abused the teachers, vandalized property, and joined gangs. Chinea, who was injured on the job, stated that teachers are underpaid and under-appreciated in the district. She described the campuses in LAUSD as a "mess, filthy, dilapidated and without supplies." Chinea believes that the district is taking little action against the conditions rampant in various low-income schools.

On January 5, 2008 Sandy Banks of the Los Angeles Times reported that vandals and thieves targeted LAUSD schools in various neighborhoods during holidays. Banks said that the lack of police presence allows thieves to target schools.

33-year old Alberto Gutierrez sued the Los Angeles Unified School District, saying that the principal of the San Fernando High School, where he was assigned, retaliated against him when Gutierrez asked students to "think critically" about the role of the United States in the Iraq War. Jose Luis Rodriguez, the principal, says that he spoke to Gutierrez because some parents did not appreciate Gutierrez requiring students to attend off-campus screenings of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Crash.

After his election to Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa advocated bringing control of the public school system under his office, removing power from the Board of Education. This sparked some protest from teachers, LAUSD board members and many residents of communities not within the City of Los Angeles but served by LAUSD.

In August, 2006, after a compromise was brokered which allowed the mayor large control while retaining an elected school board and allowing input to be provided from surrounding cities, California State Assembly Bill 1381 passed, giving the mayor a measure of control over district administration. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law on September 18, 2006. The Board of Education immediately filed suit to block the law, claiming that it violates the state constitution by allowing a local government to take over an educational agency.

AB 1381 was required to sunset on January 1, 2013, unless extended by the Legislature. On December 21, 2006, AB 1381 was ruled unconstitutional. The mayor appealed, but later dropped his appeal as two of the candidates he supported for school board were elected, essentially giving him indirect control over the school district.

In 2004, a new payroll system project began, with Deloitte Consulting engaged to customize software purchased from SAP AG. The Deloitte contract was $55,000,000 (U.S.) with the total cost estimated to be $95,000,000. The system went live in January 2007. As of 2008, a number of problems have been experienced with some staff getting overpaid and some underpaid, or even not at all. Deloitte representatives and District officials have pointed fingers at each other. Some of the problems have been software and hardware, some have been due to the complexity of labor agreements, salary scales, work rules and job assignments within the district.

LAUSD has 219 year-round schools and 439 schools on the traditional calendar. About 47% of all LAUSD students are enrolled in year round schools.

The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center (previously known as Belmont Learning Center or Vista Hermosa Learning Center), in the densely populated Westlake district just west of downtown, was originally envisioned as a mixed-use education and retail complex to include several schools, shops and a public park. After more than a decade of delays stemming from the environmental review process, ground was broken for construction in 1995 . Midway through construction it was discovered that explosive methane and toxic hydrogen sulfide were seeping from an old underground oil field. Later, an active surface fault was found under one of the completed buildings, necessitating its removal. The LAUSD had spent an estimated $175 million dollars on the project by 2004, with an additional $110 million budgeted for cleanup efforts. The total cost is estimated by LAUSD at $300 million. Critics have speculated that it may end up costing closer to $500 million. The school opened in 2008 as Edward R. Roybal Learning Center.

Another controversial project has been the development of The Ambassador Hotel property on Wilshire Boulevard in densely populated Koreatown. The LAUSD fought over the defunct landmark with among others Donald Trump, who later walked away from it, with the legal battle dating back to 1989 . In 2001, the LAUSD finally obtained legal ownership of the property. Plans to demolish the building, the site where Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot, were met with strong opposition from preservationists. Kennedy's family supported the demolition plans. In August 2005, LAUSD settled a lawsuit over the matter that had been filed by several preservationist groups: most of the Ambassador complex would be destroyed, but the Paul Williams-designed coffee shop and the Coconut Grove nightclub would be preserved, with the Grove serving as the auditorium for a new school to be built on the site. Demolition began in late 2005, and the last section of the hotel fell on January 16, 2006. The first new school on the site is scheduled to open in 2009.

In 2005, soil samples taken at the LAUSD-owned site of a former Santee Dairy facility in South Los Angeles found high levels of carcinogens in soil used as foundation fill for a high school then under construction. A small controversy brewed on the matter, with some neighborhood activists and LAUSD critics claiming a repeat of the Belmont Learning Center fiasco. State scientists determined that the contaminated soil was sufficiently deep to pose no threat to students on the site, and the now-called Santee Educational Complex opened its doors in July 2005.

On February 9, 2000, the Los Angeles Weekly published an article about the environmental troubles of Park Avenue Elementary School .

Originally organized to meet the minimum requirement of having 100 members on the band to perform in the prestigious Rose Parade, the Honor Band has performed at Anaheim Stadium, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Christmas Lane Parade (now Hollywood Christmas Parade), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Rams and Raiders football games, and Super Bowls XI, XIV, and XVII. They were there at the Governor's Inauguration in Sacramento, XXIV Olympiad Salute, and the World Series during the past 25 years.

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Source : Wikipedia