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What Can the Mayor Really Do?

As the mayoral candidates face an upcoming talk on transportation issues, Patch takes a look at the mayor's role and influence. He or she will inherit some big challenges.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently lead a press conference at the historic Union Station downtown flanked by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as well as the heads of statewide, regional and county transportation systems  to champion high-speed rail in California.

The media event underscored Villaraigosa's influence on transportation issues in the Los Angeles region and serves as an example of the transportation leadership role the next mayor of Los Angeles will inherit.

LaHood, who said 200 mph-plus trains are coming, cited Villaraigosa's leadership for helping to secure $3.5 billion in federal government investment in high-speed rail in California. Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, also gave a nod to Villaraigosa for having a transportation vision that has made him a leader on transportation issues among U.S. mayors.

Art Leahy, the CEO of the county's Metro system, said the mayor wields his influence in multiple ways.

First, the mayor sits on the Metro board and appoints three additional members, accounting for four members on the 13-member board.

"He works with other members of the board to assemble working coalitions to come up with projects," Leahy said. "That's important because it effects the daily operations of MTA buses and trains and it effects our priorites for investments on freeeways good movement and rail programs.

He also said the mayor plays a "significant" leadership role in Sacramento and Washington with the ability to access the president, senators and governor "to carry the story of Los Angeles and the requirements and needs of Los Angeles to those folks to work for their support."

"That cannot be over estimated," Leahy said. "When I say L.A, by the way, I'm not really referring to the city of L.A., but the county. The mayor is a leader in Southern California."

The mayor also has two appointments on the five-county Metrolink board in addition to the city's Department of Transportation.

Hilary Norton, executive director of Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST), endorses a report from the Santa Monica-based think-tank Rand Corp. for a comprehensive three- to five-year traffic reduction plan.

"Transportation is going to be one of the primary opportunities to create new jobs in the region and not solving our traffic is a $12 billion hit to our economy," Norton said. "Being able to address transportation systematically and efficiently and on an environmentally innovative basis could make Los Angeles known not only for the film industry but transportation innovation as well. It's one of the thorniest issues we have."

She sayd the next mayor also could use the Department of Transportation to apply for state and federal grants to set new standards for developers with existing and planned transportation plans in mind.

"I just think that the more that mayoral candidates see that adding new modes of transportation isn't just good for our citizens, but it will increase our tourism and the number of people who see Los Angeles as a destination because they can get around ...," Norton said. "Traffic has really prevented people from experiencing all of our incredible assets. This is a place that needs to been seen and appreciated and toured and if we can solve our traffic, people can go to more places and be more adventurous as to what Los Angeles has to offer."

YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA March 18, 2012 at 02:45 PM
No clear lead for Los Angeles Mayoral Candidates YJ Draiman, a relatively unknown candidate for Mayor, found himself in a prime position on the lineup with an audience that was his, and he faced that opportunity by driving his point’s home with a forceful presentation that was persuasive in its delivery. In a clear demonstration of his compassion for the audience, he capitalized on opportunities to relax and revel in the supportive nature, punching campaign bullet points for the audience, challenging the current administration responsible for standing in the way of success. YJ Draiman’s vision is to make Los Angeles the World Capital of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Kevin James found himself in the unenviable position of addressing a restless audience and he turned it around by wrangling their discontent and rallying them around his observation, “As the sixth speaker, I get to listen to the others talk about what’s wrong with LA and now we get to talk about solutions. Kevin stated numerous times that only Draiman’s speech mirrored many of his points.” http://www.yjdraimanformayor.com
YJ Draiman March 21, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Los Angeles Economic Development It is time to remake Los Angeles in the image of our boldest vision – a city of healthy communities with good schools and quality education, innovative companies in new and emerging sectors, quality open space, improved public transportation, a range of mobility and housing options; and above all, a prosperous and productive middle class equipped with the skills and education to create a better future. It is time to get serious about designing a real economic development program linked to investments in healthy communities. I recently proposed to make Los Angeles the World Capital of Renewable Energy, Energy and Water Efficiency. We have the climate, the manpower, the resources and technology. We must promote energy and water efficiency in all sectors of LA’s economy. This by itself can save the city billions and bring many jobs and economic growth into Los Angeles. We should promote real estate gentrification, affordable housing, urban infill building, economic development and clean tech sorted through the parts of redevelopment worth retaining and retooling combined with some newer elements of economic development necessary to realize this vision of healthy communities. This situation must change, or we are doomed. It is imperative that we reverse this trend. YJ Draiman http://www.yjdraimanformayor.com
YJ Draiman March 21, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Los Angeles Economic Development - continued In the past five years many businesses in LA have closed down or moved out. There are many vacant properties (commercial and residential). Many people have moved out of LA. They can not afford the cost of living, the high taxation, the stifling bureaucracy and varied rules and regulations that choke business development. We have a dysfunctional leadership in Los Angeles, an inefficient workforce, a demand for entitlement, and crippling budget deficits that are creating an environment of uncertainty for many companies who want to hire people, but are afraid to do so. Capital is stagnant and unattainable, frozen by an over swing of regulation and bureaucracy. We want to get Los Angeles working again, yet many of our wounds are self inflicted, as LA bureaucrats go to work every day piling more regulations and taxes onto the very businesses we ask to grow and create more jobs. This situation must change, or we are doomed. It is imperative that we reverse this trend. YJ Draiman http://www.yjdraimanformayor.com

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