of the City Address
On April 18th, Mayor James Hahn delivered his "State of the
City Address" to about 1,000 people gathered at James Monroe
High School in North Hills.
One of the strongest themes of the Mayor's address dealt with his
vision for the LAPD, and what he'll expect of the next Chief. He
wants a leader who will "... shatter the police culture within
the Department that has blocked reform for so long ... [and] will
build a new culture within the LAPD that is founded on community
The Mayor makes a call to action through community inclusion, activism
and volunteerism, which " ... includes reinvigorating our neighborhood
watch programs and our citizen emergency response teams."
Plans for how to improve our security, economy, housing, education,
and infrastructure are also themes.
Finally, he makes his case to keep the City of Los Angeles whole,
arguing that togetherness and inclusion are essential to moving
forward, and that cooperation should be the key, declaring, "Secession
is not a solution. Working together to fulfill our dreams to meet
our shared goals, that's the solution."
Because this address outlines the Mayor's intentions over the next
year, we have included it in its entirety:
State of the City Address
Mayor James Hahn
April 18, 2002
Welcome. I want to thank all you of you for being here today. I
am honored to be joined today by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo,
City Controller Laura Chick, the Los Angeles City Council, School
Board members, and School Superintendent Governor Roy Romer. I also
want to thank and recognize the City Commissioners, and the General
Managers of City Departments for joining us.
Los Angeles is the place of dreams. Anyone can make it in Los Angeles
because here you are judged on what you can do, and not where you
came from. Let me tell you one story about Los Angeles. There was
a young Austrian screenwriter who lived in Germany at the beginning
of World War II. He fled from the Nazis and came to Hollywood in
1934 not able to speak a word of English. Living on a can of soup
a day, he taught himself English by listening to baseball games
on the radio. He said that most refugees had a secret hope of returning
home, but for him Los Angeles was home.
He loved everything about LA, our diversity and our passion. He
arrived when much of Sunset Boulevard was still in the country.
Before he left us, he would define that street in its beauty and
mystery for the entire world through the movie "Sunset Boulevard."
He found inspiration in every nook and cranny of this city and shared
them with the world in movies like "Double Indemnity" and "Some
Like It Hot." He was nominated for 21 Academy Awards and won 6.
He was Billy Wilder.
Writer-director Cameron Crowe wrote that Wilder's characters "could
only have come from Los Angeles." Wilder came here with nothing,
made Los Angeles his home and his muse, and as a result he became
one of the most successful artists in Hollywood.
That is the story of LA. Whether it is the story of Billy Wilder
or the story of an immigrant family arriving with nothing and opening
a successful store. It is the story that draws people here and what
makes us proud to be Angelinos.
We are a big, bold metropolis whose arms are open and welcoming
to everyone, and where anyone can come to make their dreams come
Within this great city we are also a collection of unique neighborhoods
as diverse as the individual aspirations of each of these kids sitting
behind me. There is no one symbol or one neighborhood that can represent
the dream of LA because it is different for everyone. North Hills
is Los Angeles. Watts is Los Angeles. San Pedro is Los Angeles.
Beverlywood and Boyle Heights are Los Angeles. Hollywood, Arleta,
and Venice are Los Angeles.
As Mayor of this great city, my focus has been and will continue
to be to make our city government work for all of us. To strengthen
each neighborhood is to strengthen the whole city and to make the
dreams of every Angelino possible. To do that, my priorities for
Los Angeles are to make every neighborhood safe, to make them enriching
for our kids and attractive to business, to give every neighborhood
its fair share of city services, and to shorten the distance between
our neighborhoods and City Hall.
Making every neighborhood in Los Angeles safe and livable has been
a priority for me. Violent crime and gang crime are on the rise.
For four years the ranks of the LAPD have shrunk, but we are beginning
to turn the tide.
Step one was to implement a flexible work schedule in LAPD, to attract
officers, and to maximize officer hours on the street.
Step two was to reduce the time it takes to hire new police officers.
With the Police Commission and the leadership of Councilmember Cindy
Miscikowski, we shortened a process that once took almost a year,
to less than 120 days and in some cases as few as 60 days. I am
glad that we have Councilmembers Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine on the
Public Safety Committee, both with significant experience in law
Step three is to grow more of our own officers right here in Los
Angeles. We are joined today by the police academy magnet program
at Monroe High School. These students are receiving specialized
training in order to prepare them for a career in law enforcement.
My budget includes support for this program by dedicating an officer
to each academy site. Hopefully, one day they will be part of LAPD.
In my proposed budget, I move 100 officers from administrative positions
to patrol. Since I took office, we have hired 240 officers and by
the next year we will have hired a total of 780. I will work on
all fronts to put more officers in our neighborhoods, but I cannot
do it alone.
Join me in building our police force; refer someone you respect
to the Department and support your local police academy magnet program.
In addition to putting more officers on the streets, we are fighting
crime by bringing back our Senior Lead Officers to work full time
on fixing chronic crime problems in neighborhoods. Working together
with Councilmember Nick Pacheco and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo,
we launched a neighborhood prosecutors program that builds on the
success of the Community Nuisance Abatement Program to address issues
like abandoned buildings and quality of life crimes.
Ten years after the Rodney King beating, and the Christopher Commission
reforms that ensued, let's once and for all create a police department
that does not give lip service to reform, but embraces it; an LAPD
committed to fighting crime, committed to ending corruption, and
committed to protecting people's rights.
We must build a police department that not only protects, but also
respects every community in Los Angeles led by a Police Commission
that understands its role as an overseer of the Department. They
must lead in partnership with a new police chief who will respect
civilian oversight of the department. And I call on the police union
to join with the new chief to shatter the police culture within
the Department that has blocked reform for so long. We will build
a new culture within the LAPD that is founded on community trust.
To our next police chief and to every police officer, I say that
there can be no more Ramparts, no more code of silence, and no more
The events of September 11th changed the way we look at who is responsible
for security. As a people, we realized that we could all make a
difference to make our neighborhoods safer, by working together
to build our police force, to report crime, and to invest in our
Last week I joined with President Bush to launch his Citizen Corps,
a nationwide initiative to encourage volunteerism designed to support
neighborhood safety. In Los Angeles, this includes reinvigorating
our neighborhood watch programs and our citizen emergency response
teams. Because of veteran leaders like Councilmember Hal Bernson
and emerging leaders like Councilmember Jack Weiss, Los Angeles
leads in emergency preparedness and security, and I ask all of you
that if you are not already involved -- get involved.
Unfortunately, September 11th also accelerated an economic downturn
in the country and in Los Angeles. At the same time that we increased
security throughout the City, I worked to restore our economy and
get LA back to business.
From programs to provide assistance to people who had lost their
jobs to initiatives to stimulate consumer spending, I immediately
addressed this crisis and put LA back to work. We took quick action
to restore consumer confidence through programs like Shop LA County
and Dine LA.
Our economic rebound has already begun, and LA's diverse economy
will not only bounce back, but will lead the Southland's resurgence.
Our economy depends on us tackling the housing crisis in Los Angeles.
This spring, I announced my proposal with full Council support to
fund a $100 million dollar Los Angeles Housing Trust Fund over the
next two years. We will do this without imposing new fees or raising
I would like to thank Councilmember Eric Garcetti for his leadership
in this effort, and I look forward to working with Councilmember
Ed Reyes who is working to cut the red tape to build affordable
housing that is so desperately needed.
Our business team is out in neighborhoods working to attract large
and small businesses and stimulate job growth. We are implementing
business tax reform, including a two-year tax exemption for start
up businesses. Working with City Controller Laura Chick, we started
paying the City's bills on time, taking advantage of discounts,
and have saved $650,000 to date.
This year we started working to get new infrastructure projects
completed faster to infuse more money into our local economy at
a time when we need it the most. There are over $1.7 billion in
bond-financed projects in our City that taxpayers have paid for
and that we need to see built on time and within budget.
Our safety, our economy, and our future also depend on us providing
more educational and job opportunities for our kids. With the help
of Eli Broad, we expanded the LA's BEST after school program from
78 to 101 schools and gave an additional 3,500 kids a safe environment
in which to learn. This program, founded by Mayor Bradley, is near
and dear to Councilmember Wendy Greuel who worked on it from its
beginning. Next year's budget includes $1 million in funding to
continue to support this expansion. And my goal is to see that every
child in every neighborhood has access to an after-school program.
I want to thank Mark Ridley Thomas for his work to champion the
LA Bridges program for our middle school youth.
We need to expand job and job training programs for young people
because these programs are essential to keeping our kids away from
gangs and on track to fulfilling their dreams. Next week, I will
be announcing a comprehensive gang prevention, intervention and
suppression initiative that will include a significant youth jobs
More police on our street, better housing, youth opportunities,
and jobs are all part of my comprehensive strategy to make our neighborhoods
safer and stronger.
We are also listening to the people of Los Angeles who want their
fair share of resources. When you feel good about the street you
live on, you feel good about the city you live in. With the leadership
of Council President Alex Padilla, Public Works Committee Chair
Jan Perry and the full Council, we are bringing record levels of
service to every neighborhood in Los Angeles. Whether it's resurfacing
our streets, expediting traffic improvements, trimming our trees,
fixing our sidewalks, we are meeting the needs of neighborhoods
all over the City, even in tight financial times. As my dad, Kenny
Hahn, taught Councilmember Nate Holden, and me - filling potholes
is an important part, if not the most important part, of delivering
Those who want to break the City apart do not want to talk about
how the City is working to see that every neighborhood gets its
fair share. For example, this year we opened or renovated 21 new
parks and 3 new libraries. Next year 50 parks will be built or renovated,
and 17 new libraries will be completed.
We are building new fire and police stations and expanding 911 services,
and we are launching One Call to City Hall with 311 next year. We
are listening to the needs of communities. I heard the concerns
of Valley residents, and we are fixing 10 of the worst traffic intersections
and expediting 10 more. We put traffic officers on duty in rush
hour at our busiest intersections. We are exploring alternatives
to landfills like Sunshine Canyon, and we are planting 100,000 trees
through DWP's Green LA program.
I heard the concerns of San Pedro, and we appointed a majority of
members on the Harbor Commission who actually live in the harbor
area. We established a Port Advisory Committee to voice community
concerns, and I want to thank Councilmember Galanter for her leadership
to make both the Port and LAX better neighbors.
I heard the concerns of Hollywood, and we are renovating the crown
jewel of our tourism industry. We celebrated the opening of Hollywood
and Highland, and we are working on a joint venture project to bring
housing and hotel rooms to Hollywood and Vine. This project of $282
million will create jobs and bring business and tourism to Hollywood.
And I have every confidence that Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and
Tom LaBonge will see to it that we keep Hollywood glistening.
The voters of this City expressed their confidence in city government
by passing Proposition Q to increase security and support our local
heros in all parts of the City, and we are providing more fire fighter
and paramedic resources in every neighborhood.
In Los Angeles, we have a history of working together for the good
of all. The economic engine of the port was built in San Pedro because
Angelinos fought the moneyed interests that wanted the port in Santa
Monica. Angelinos brought water, power, and housing to the Valley.
And recently, beginning with the leadership of Mayor Riordan, Angelinos
have invested millions of dollars in the revitalization of Hollywood
and brought the glamour of the Oscars back to Hollywood where it
All of us, the City Council, the City Controller, the City Attorney
-- we are all committed to making sure that every part of this city
gets the resources they need.
The entire City listened to those who wanted a stronger voice at
City Hall and adopted a new City Charter that created Neighborhood
Councils. While some are trying to break this city apart, hundreds
of others are working with the neighborhood council system, to shape
a new direction for their communities.
My sister, and former Charter Commissioner, Councilwoman Janice
Hahn celebrated with me this week when we certified our 23rd Neighborhood
Council. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is bringing
government back to the people.
This year's budget will include $3 million in grant funds for councils
to use for neighborhood improvement projects like new playground
equipment or neighborhood beautification. I urge each of you to
get involved in your neighborhood council, and begin to actively
participate in city government.
It is also imperative that our City Council represents all of Los
Angeles, and that is why I supported creating five council districts
entirely in the Valley, and why I supported keeping communities
of interest together. I urge the Council to move forward to adopt
I want to talk seriously about the movement to break our City apart.
Los Angeles is a collection of unique neighborhoods, but we are
and will remain one city.
We must defend this great City from the empty promises of secessionists
with straight talk about what a break up would really mean to all
of us. There would be no more Hollywood, Valley or San Pedro, as
we know them: unique parts supported by the community of Los Angeles.
The one-sided, sound bite message of secession must and will be
answered with the truth.
Breaking apart the City will not break apart the school district;
it will have no effect on the school system because that's a separate
issue that won't be on the ballot. Breaking apart the City will
not improve city services because the secession plan requires that
they contract with the remaining city to provide basic services.
In fact, services will have to be reduced if the new City struggles
financially, as is likely. The plan to break off the Harbor actually
proposes a 30 percent cut in services. Breaking apart Los Angeles
won't provide one dime of additional resources to a new city and
will leave the remaining city wounded. The reality is that a break-up
will create more bureaucracy, more politicians, fewer resources,
and diminished services. Secession is not a solution. Working together
to fulfill our dreams to meet our shared goals, that's the solution.
Together we can move forward. Divided we destroy the progress we
have made and destroy the dream of Los Angeles. Whether you live
in Lincoln Height or Los Feliz, Winnetka or Wilmington, Sunland
or Sylmar breaking apart this city destroys our identity.
In every joke and every moment of drama, Billy Wilder saw Los Angeles
for what it is - a city of beauty, individuality and inspiration.
This is the city that dreams are made of, and I will not let our
dream be destroyed.
I am committed to keeping this city together, but I need your help.
Join me. Fight secession with the truth. Protect what we have all
worked so hard for, our place of dreams. The state of our city,
despite our challenges, is strong and vibrant. Together we will
face this pivotal time in our history, and make Los Angeles - Nuestra
Ciudad, Our City of Angels, and Our City of Neighborhoods -- the
model city of the 21st Century.