Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Villaraigosa for LA's Mayor

Villaraigosa is the only one of the 5 mayoral candidates with a vision for Los Angeles that would actually solve some of the city's problems while the other four candidates--Hahn, Hertz berg, Parks, and Alarcon--are only offering band aids that would keep LA's wounds festering.

On the city council, he helped resolve the MTA bus strike in November 2003 while Mayor Hahn was unable to do so. As a board member of the MTA, he's done necessary work to link transit and land use planning as well as adopt sustainable building pratices for all large projects.

Villaraigosa says to solve Los Angeles traffic gridlock we need to a comprehensive plan to upgrade the roads, build more rail lines including expanding the lines we have, improve the bus system until it is first class, and create more bikeways. He argues that to solve the housing crisis we need to build more middle class homes and more affordable homes for the poor as well as create tax incentives for families to help them buy their first home. Homes, schools and transporation should all be coordinated.

While in the state legislature he was important in passing a $2.1 billion initiative effort to provide parks and open space throughout the state. By helping to pass the bill for the Los Angeles river conservancy, he brought more than $87 million to Southern California to spur development of parks along the Los Angeles River and he also funded an extensive expansion of water quality enforcement by the state. He’s by far the best candidate for the environment with his vision for a green Los Angeles: planting a million trees to both conserve water and improve air; improve air quality; reduce dumping of toxics in the beaches; increasing recycling throughout the city; and a host of other ideas. He’s the best candidate for increasing much needed park space: he wants to build parks, particularly a string of pocket parks along the Los Angeles River.

For the economy, he further suggests to solve the problem of poverty in the inner city we need a community-development bank to improve the economy in low-income neighborhoods. Villaraigosa would work harder than any other candidate to extend the living-wage ordinance and build more affordable housing. With low-income workers making more money, they would immediately spend the money, spurring the economy. Building housing and also rehabilitating existing slum housing would also employ construction workers and would positively affect the economy. Villaragoisa’s economic solutions will benefit citizens of all classes. Further, with poor people getting higher wages and better housing, there would be more social peace, again benefiting all classes. His plan of adding more police without a tax increase would also help social peace.

Villaraigosa has real achievements both when he was in the state legislature and on the city council. When he was in the state legislature, he authored a state health insurance program, “Healthy Families,” currently serving 600,000 children of the working poor--this is one of the most important pieces of legislation passed in California in the last decade. Also he led the passage of a $9.1 billion initiative to rebuild and modernize California schools.

He is a politician who has done more for the environment than any other in Los Angeles and he's also extremely knowledgable about transportation issues, important for solving traffic gridlock. All in all he's already improved California's health, schools, environment, transportation, and water quality. That is quite a record. As mayor he would support ideas that would improve schools, health, transportation, the economy, and public safety. Los Angeles needs Villaragoisa’s vision and needs him as mayor.

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