April 30, 2004 - From the April, 2004 issue

Mayoral Candidate Hertzberg Unveils A Vision for City of L.A.

Earlier this month, Speaker Emeritus Robert Hertzberg announced his candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles. In an effort to clarify his intentions and distinguish himself from Mayor Hahn, Hertzberg has also released a vision statement and plan for his first 100 days in office, should he be elected. TPR is pleased to present Speaker Emeritus Hertzberg's vision statement "Moving L.A. Forward."

Robert Hertzberg

In less than a year, the citizens of Los Angeles will have the opportunity to elect a new mayor. This election will not only determine our quality of life for the next four years: it will dramatically shape the future we pass along to our children for generations to come.

For so many years, Los Angeles has led the world in creativity, energy, and innovation. It's time to recapture that same spirit of imagination-the big ideas and the big dreams that make our city great.

With the support of my wife Cynthia Telles, I'm running for Mayor of Los Angeles to bring a new spirit of independent leadership to City Hall. I will be an energetic steward of the public trust and an example of new vitality, willing to break the conventional rules of politics if that's what it takes to move Los Angeles forward and make it one of the world's great cities once again.

As a businessman, attorney, community activist, children's advocate and public servant, I have had the opportunity to work with community groups in virtually every corner of Los Angeles. From my efforts building affordable housing in Lincoln Heights, providing a desperately needed youth center in South LA, to my current volunteer work to provide pre-school to thousands of Los Angeles children, I am proud to have been a part of so many worthwhile causes to improve the quality of life for all of our neighbors.

As Speaker of the California State Assembly, I worked closely with both Democrats and Republicans and earned a reputation as a tenacious and energetic problem solver who won't quit until the job is done. That's why I was elected Speaker twice by unanimous voice votes.

When critical legislation aimed at reducing overcrowded classrooms and repairing broken-down schools failed twice to make its way into law, I stepped in to make it happen. Failure was not an option. I brought lawmakers to the table, and thirty-seven sleepless hours later, California's kids had $9.2 billion worth of new and repaired schools. Later I engineered the most comprehensive school construction and renovation program in California history.

As Chairman of the California Assembly's Public Safety Committee, I knew that we needed to modernize our crime labs to give law enforcement the tools they need to convict criminals and ensure that only the truly guilty remain in prison. After six long years of work with law enforcement leaders and Sheriff Lee Baca, ground will be broken soon at Cal State LA to build a $90 million state-of-the-art crime lab for Los Angeles police and sheriffs.

When I was elected to represent the San Fernando Valley, I swore to myself I wouldn't rest until the Valley had its own mass transit system. The Valley transit project had been stalled for over a decade-together with Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and other Valley leaders, we broke the gridlock, and today the Orange Line is under construction.

In my office hangs a quote from Alexander Graham Bell: "Problems are nothing more than opportunities in working clothes." That is the motto I live and lead by.

I know that people throughout our city are frustrated and angry. I hear it every day.

Business owners are tired of the high cost of doing business in Los Angeles and are taking their jobs to nearby cities that roll out the red carpet for them-not the red tape.

Commuters are tired of being stuck in traffic while city workers tear up the roadways during rush hour performing work that could just as easily have been done at night.

Parents are tired of being afraid to take their kids to play in the park because the gangs have set up shop to deal drugs and intimidate neighbors.

As we think about today's problems and tomorrow's opportunities, we are frustrated and angry because the one person most responsible for advocating a collective vision and marshaling the energy to achieve it is asleep at the switch. It shouldn't come as a big surprise. Mayor Hahn warned us recently not to look at him "if you're looking for the big, new, dramatic initiative."

If you can't look to the Mayor for solutions, whom can you look to? A big city with big problems deserves a big city Mayor with big solutions.


Unfortunately, Mayor Hahn, a twenty-year City Hall politician, has failed us.

He has failed to make good on his campaign promise to give Chief Bratton 1,000 new police officers.

He has failed to make good on his promise to give real power and authority to neighborhoods and now residents throughout the city continue to be ignored in their efforts to obtain their fair share of city services.

He has failed to make good on his promise of ethics reform by refusing to return hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign contributions he has received from lobbyists, city contractors and commissioners.

We can't afford a failed Mayor with no new ideas. We need an independent, reform-minded Mayor who will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make this city work.

If elected, here a just a few of the things I will do within the first 100 days of my administration:

First, I will enlist a volunteer corps of the best and brightest engineers, architects, designers, landscapers and urban planners to develop a plan to give Los Angeles an "extreme makeover". Why should we wait until we are awarded an Olympics before we do something about the dirt and decay of our major streets and neighborhoods? I pledge to make Los Angeles residents proud of their city-one that is cleaner, greener and brighter. We need beautiful, pedestrian and family-friendly boulevards with cafes, bookstores and boutiques-not more liquor stores and billboards. Project RENEW LA will ensure that young people have job opportunities through projects like the LA Conservation Corps to work on beautification and clean-up projects in their own neighborhoods.

Second, I will sit down with each council member and their community's neighborhood council representatives, community leaders, school officials, and local business owners to discuss ways to dramatically shift power, budgetary authority, and decision-making to local neighborhoods. These discussions will lead to meaningful structural reforms to ensure that neighborhood decisions are left in the neighborhoods-and not dictated from City Hall.

Third, I will initiate sweeping changes in our ethics laws to restore confidence and integrity in our system. We will take the "For Sale" sign down from City Hall and put to rest the notion that this city awards contracts to the powerful few who donate to political campaigns.

And finally, since the most extraordinary long-term challenge we face is competition for jobs in the new global economy, I will unveil a detailed strategy to focus all departments of the city on our economic competitiveness so that we are not left in the dust while the rest of the world passes us by. Job creation will be a central theme in my campaign and I plan to make Los Angeles an economic superpower that leads the world in economic innovation.

As your Mayor, I will not be afraid to be bold and take on tough tasks. It's going to take all of us-residents, businesses, neighborhood advocates and city leaders. There are too many challenges facing us to do it any other way.

As my campaign unfolds in coming months, I will detail many more specific proposals to transform Los Angeles. I hope you will consider these ideas and contribute your own on my website, www.bobhertzberg.com.

Join me. Let's move Los Angeles forward. Let's make our city great.


© 2024 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.