Happy New Year, Mayor Chihuahua
- 03 Jan 2012
- Written by Cary Brazeman
2012 TO-DO LIST FOR MAYOR V – I didn’t say it. He did. Mayor Villaraigosa called himself a Chihuahua. He told the Los Angeles Daily News: “I’m like a Chihuahua. I don’t give up.” Hard as it is, I’ll bite my tongue and resist making jokes. Suffice it to say the Mayor was making the point that he intends to work hard — like a dog — until he leaves office in 18 months. I hope this is true; his leadership is needed now more than ever to move our city ahead. Here are five items that should be on the Mayor’s to-do list for 2012.
TRANSPORTATION. We know he knows it, but the biggest legacy the Mayor could leave us, if he can bring it home, is 30/10, the plan to accomplish in 10 years the series of transportation improvements slated to otherwise occur over 30 years with Measure R money. Congress is a mess … they can’t even agree on what color the sky is on any given day … so federal help for Los Angeles is by no means assured. But a win would accelerate much-needed improvements to our infrastructure and create 150,000 really good jobs … not make-work jobs, but really good jobs.
CITY BUDGET. LA has avoided bankruptcy, but we’ve still got big problems. Focus on the city’s structural deficit, Mr. Mayor. Embrace multi-year budgeting (as the City Controller and I have recommended). Think creatively about service delivery, including streets, sidewalks and trees. There are ways for the city to fix the worst problems over time without dumping them on the people.
DWP TRANSPARENCY. We need a watchdog, not a lapdog, to help ensure the DWP is accountable to the city and its people. The new ratepayer advocate should be constructively critical of the utility’s operations, investments and rates. Make sure it’s a good hire.
PRIVATE-SECTOR JOBS. Take another trip to Asia, Mr. Mayor, seriously. Los Angeles is a Pacific Rim city. Our regional economy relies heavily on manufacturing and distribution, including business with Asian companies. These are our partners. Visits abroad also offer a good reminder about what happens when there are no environmental controls (Chinese smog, anyone?), and when speculative economies overheat, as China’s is in the midst of doing.
LIVABLE CITY. Keep focused on improving infrastructure and amenities to make ours a more livable city. As one example, if NBC Universal does right by the LA River and Griffith Park with its expansion plans, the city will end up with a near 15-mile recreational greenway from North Hollywood to downtown … incredible! Insist on it, Mr. Mayor.
Yes, there’s much to be done in 2012. If this Chihuahua thing really is working for you, Mayor Villaraigosa, I say live it, breathe it, be it. Happy New Year.
Tags: Mayor Villaraigosa, Cary Brazeman, LA River, NBC Universal, China, City budget
Vol 10 Issue 1
Pub: Jan 3, 2012