Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa delivers final State of City address
WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa highlighted his eight years in office during his final State of the City address Tuesday evening.
The mayor focused his 30-minute speech on gains made in public safety, transportation, the economy and environment, as well as education.
Villaraigosa first took office in 2005. Although he had no formal role in education, Villaraigosa made education one of his priorities during his tenure as mayor. In his address, Villaraigosa urged mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti to take leadership on the issue of education.
The mayor did not refer to Garcetti and Greuel by name, but said the candidates in the race failed to present comprehensive proposals to improve troubled schools.
"It has been so disheartening to see our mayoral candidates devote so little time to a serious discussion of how to deliver a quality education for all our children," Villaraigosa said.
"Education reform can't be a footnote on a campaign mailer or fodder for an attack ad," he added. "It is time that they presented us with their comprehensive visions to make our schools shine."
Villaraigosa also urged the next mayor to maintain the progress made in public safety. Under Villaraigosa, the number of police officers was increased from 9,284 in 2005 to more than 10,000, which in his speech he said led to the reduction of violent crime and homicides by 49 percent since he took office. He also said property crime was reduced to 30 percent.
According to the mayor, at the beginning of 2005 there were 1755 gang crimes and at the beginning of this year there were 784, a 55 percent decrease.
On the environmental front, Villaraigosa said his office has reduced the city's carbon emissions by nearly 30 percent - more than any other major city in the U.S.
Villaraigosa, a former state Assembly speaker, was as a groundbreaker when he entered office, becoming the first Hispanic mayor of Los Angeles since 1872. But his personal life soon overshadowed his work at City Hall, with the disclosure in 2007 that his marriage was ending and that he carried on a long-term relationship with a local TV newscaster.
Villaraigosa delivered his speech at Royce Hall at UCLA, his alma mater. His term ends July 1 when he will be replaced by the winner of the runoff election between Greuel and Garcetti.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
antonio villaraigosa, politics
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