May 12, 2005
Mayor Hahn Deserves Another Four Years
There is no doubt that Antonio Villaraigosa is flashy. But Los Angeles has enough movie stars. What our community and our city need is a mayor of accomplishment and whose values are in line with ours.
We should especially appreciate Mayor James Hahn's efforts on behalf of the Jewish community. His efforts have resulted in maximum police protection for synagogues and Jewish community centers during the High Holidays. His administration also launched a citywide campaign against hate crimes and hate language, and he's partnered with the Museum of Tolerance in programs, for example, that offer training in resisting racial profiling.
In addition, he's participated in economic development initiatives and cultural and educational programs in conjunction with the mayor of Tel Aviv. Mayor Hahn's city budget, through Cultural Affairs, supports the Jewish Federation's Zimmer Children's Museum. And city funds also assist the Aviva Center's work to help at-risk teenage girls.
But our community also has benefited, along with the rest of the city, from Mayor Hahn's work to make Los Angeles the nation's safest city.
He chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Aviation Security Task Force after the attacks of Sept. 11 to lead the fight for safer airports and aircraft.
Before Mayor Hahn, the LAPD was shrinking, reforms to stamp out racial profiling were stalled, community policing was being eliminated and crime was on the rise. Mayor Hahn dismantled that status quo, and with the help of the police chief he hired, Bill Bratton, more officers are on the street, reforms are under way, community policing is a cornerstone of the LAPD and violent crime is down this year by 27 percent.
But our city is still facing challenges, and Mayor Hahn will not rest on the successes of the last four years. He is developing an unprecedented citywide gang injunction to make every part of Los Angeles off limits to gangs, and he has never slowed his constant battle to hire more police officers.
I trust Mayor Hahn to keep up the pressure on criminals. I do not trust Antonio Villaraigosa.
Then-City Attorney Hahn pioneered the use of gang injunctions, now a crime-fighting tool that's being used nationwide. At the same time, Antonio Villaraigosa was suing in court to stop gang injunctions.
City Attorney Hahn helped draft the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act to bring some of the toughest crackdowns on gangs California has seen. Antonio Villaraigosa was one of just 10 votes against that law.
Time and time again, Antonio Villaraigosa has acted against crime victims and for criminals -- like when he was the only vote out of 63 against a bill to toughen penalties against child abusers who kill a child.
It may be a cliché, but there is nothing more true than the fact that our children are our future. I trust Jim Hahn to turn around our schools, just as he turned around the Police Department. Our kids deserve an educational system that prepares them for success, and one that ensures the future peace and prosperity of our city.
Jim Hahn has already led the fastest-ever expansion of city after-school programs, giving more than 20,000 kids a safe place to learn after school, when they may otherwise be out on the streets and getting into trouble. And his office has provided assistance to the school district on 60 of its school construction projects, because classroom overcrowding so negatively impacts classroom learning and the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
Now, he is fighting to appoint members to the school board, establish charter schools and provide incentives for teachers to make sure the best ones come and stay in Los Angeles public schools, where they are sorely needed.
Antonio Villaraigosa is saying that he will be the "education mayor," but in light of his failure to attend even one meeting of the City Council Education Committee he sits on this year, I question his commitment.
Although Antonio Villaraigosa takes credit for state school bonds voters passed in 1997, the reality is that, because of his mismanagement, it took a lawsuit by Los Angeles parents before our city started receiving its fair share of the bond money, which is now helping to build schools all over the city. Before the lawsuit, Los Angeles, the second-largest school district in the nation, stood to receive as little as 1 percent of the bond's funding for construction of new schools.
I trust Mayor Hahn to move our city forward. He's proven over his tenure as the city controller, city attorney and as mayor that he does what he says he's going to do, and he brings results.
He's always acted in the interests of the people, regardless of the political consequences. Hiring a new chief for the LAPD cost him thousands and thousands of votes -- but it also prevented thousands and thousands of people from becoming crime victims.
Jim Hahn is a man of faith. He is a man of integrity and he is a man who delivers results for our community and the entire city. For our own good, we should vote to give him another four years.
Carmen Warschaw is a longtime Democratic Party leader, philanthropist and community activist.