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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Villaraigosa Vows L.A. is 'On the Move'

Antonio Villaraigosa's final State of the City address highlighted his term's achievements while challenging successors to focus on education.

Los Angeles is "on the move" trumpeted Antonio Villaraigosa Tuesday as he surveyed his eight years as the city's top executive.

Across sectors - from transportation, environmental issues, energy, public safety, to economic well-being and education - Mayor Villaraigosa marshalled forth the statistics to make one message clear to Angelenos: his term was a success.

Mayor Villaraigosa surveyed his eight years in office and took his potential successors to task for a lack of education policy. (Matt Hamilton/ATVN)
Mayor Villaraigosa surveyed his eight years in office and took his potential successors to task for a lack of education policy. (Matt Hamilton/ATVN)

The feisty politician beat his detractors to any criticism by admitting failures, albeit without offering any specifics.

"That's what happens when you swing for the fences," said Villaraigosa. 

And the outgoing mayor used the speech, held in UCLA's Royce Hall, to take his potential successors to task for ignoring education policy.

"It has been disheartening to see our mayoral candidates devote so little time to a serious discussion of how to deliver a quality education to all our children," said Villaraigosa.

He called on the two candidates - city councilman Eric Garcetti and city controller Wendy Greuel - to develop "comprehensive visions" for L.A.'s public schools. 

"We want to choose someone who won't nibble cautiously around the edges," said Villaraigosa.

The mayor holds no formal role in the operations of L.A. Unified School District, whose leadership board is elected by voters.

In the audience of more than 150 people were L.A.P.D. Chief Charlie Beck, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, and Greuel. Garcetti was not in attendance Tuesday.

Villaraigosa's address to city leaders and community officials came two weeks before he will present his final budget. He alluded to the budget's structure, promising that it will be balanced, contain a reserve, and fund a police force at a staffing capacity of 10,000 officers. No mention was made of the more than $150 million deficit facing the city.

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