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Richard Alarcon Interview Transcript

This is a partial transcript of Richard Alarcon’s interview with the L.A. Weekly’s editorial board. As with all of the candidate interviews, it has been only lightly edited and has not been fact-checked. L.A. WEEKLY: What about running for mayor of Los Angeles appeals to at this point? Why are you doing this? RICHARD ALARCON: After three years of the current administration, I was completely dissatisfied with their performance. I felt there was a lack of a vision. I thought there were a lot of opportunities that were missed. One of the reasons I wanted to run for mayor was to defibrillate this current mayor into action. But I’m a pragmatic. He’s an incumbent. A powerful incumbent at that. It’s interesting because the level of proactivity in his campaign was completely different than his proactivity as a mayor. I knew that he would engage and I knew he would raise a ton of money. I was a City Councilman. I know how that game is played. I can tell you the exact moment I decided to run for mayor was when I was listening to the news about Troy Edwards called to the grand jury and the moment that I decided to run was when I realized it was a federal grand jury, not the local grand jury. And the difference is that, it brings in the FBI and the FBI doesn’t walk away with nothing. At that moment I felt there would be vulnerability in the incumbent. And so that’s when I decided. But why? I’ve dedicated my life to public service since I was 15. But I really dedicated myself to community and public service when I was at Cal State Northridge. Even in high school, I was the first Latino student body president in my high school. L.A. WEEKLY: Where was this? RICHARD ALARCON: Polytechnic High School. I actually had to go through a personal evaluation during this accession process and my conclusion was when I look at all the work I did, what I wanted to accomplish in life, I decided that everything was driving me to try and end poverty. And that’s when I came up with the select committee to end poverty in California. In the U.S., we’re the low wage capital of the world. A huge separation between haves and have-nots. I believe the best thing I can do to reduce poverty and grow this middle class American dream that I was raised in would be to try to turn L. A. around and I believe I have the experience, the knowledge, the ability, the desire, the passion, to really make it happen. But even if I don’t, I had already agreed that I wanted to engage the city in a debate…bringing progressive ideas into the full light of day. L.A. WEEKLY: Are your progressive ideas in keeping with your concerns for the middle class? RICHARD ALARCON: Building middle class dreams are about ending poverty. You end poverty by getting somebody into the middle class. L.A. WEEKLY: Since your sister speaks about you and has run on her own, is there a problem in the values you both represent? RICHARD ALARCON: She’s my sister. We’re just bonded as, as brother and sister. L.A. WEEKLY: That goes without saying. RICHARD ALARCON: But my former NRA brother is also supporting me. L.A. WEEKLY: Is that right? RICHARD ALARCON: If you want to do guilt by association... L.A. WEEKLY: It has nothing to do with guilt, but what about your political philosophy? RICHARD ALARCON: But you said is it a hindrance, you didn’t say that that benefits you. I view that as guilt by association. Those are the same pitfalls that society fell into in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I’m a progressive. I’m not a Communist. And I never have been. And yet, my sister does agree with me in building those opportunities for the least among us to rise up. But, did I not know that people would take issue with it? They’ve been doing it my whole political career. Check out the web, it’s on the front page. But, I think all of my parent’s children have entered into the middle class. We’ve had our peaks and valleys economically in our lives. Most of us are poor when we go to college but I don’t think we ever felt the dire fear that real poverty places in people’s lives. It is one thing for me to know that when my mother was improperly laid off for a year that I had to go the store and pay with food stamps. It’s one thing for me to do that and feel bad temporarily, but I never thought that my life wouldn’t be better in the future. The spiraling down of poverty that you see today is that you find senior citizens who see no future and their assets are dwindling paying for pharmaceuticals and other health care and cohabitating in ways that they wouldn’t if they had alternatives. The quality of their lives is deteriorating and they see no upward mobility in the future. Young people living well into their 30s and 40s with the parents. I’ve never felt that. I lived in a garage with my three kids when I was out of college and struggling, but I had a degree. That’s a temporary poverty. I’ve seen enough poverty throughout the state of California to know what real poverty is. L.A. WEEKLY: What’s one thing you could do as mayor to address the problem of poverty in Los Angeles? RICHARD ALARCON: Well, I would replicate the work we’re doing at the Senate to develop a master plan to end poverty in Los Angeles. You can’t do one thing. It cuts across every subject area. I think what we have to do is create a political culture in Los Angeles that’s determined to end it. And nobody is doing that. They take the easy way out. It’s easier to negotiate within corporate America on a strategy that creates jobs but it’s harder to negotiate a strategy to end homeless kids on the streets of Los Angeles. I wouldn’t able to do it alone. The first thing I would do is develop a plan. But I told my staff... L.A. WEEKLY: Do you think this is something that could be realized in your lifetime? RICHARD ALARCON: If I end it for one family I’ve ended it. It depends on how you view it. When I talk about ending poverty, I’m not talking about necessarily ending global poverty tomorrow. But if I end it for one family, I’ve permanently ended it perhaps for that family. The problem isn’t that we don’t know what poverty is. The problem is that we haven’t created the heart?? to counter it effectively. And, I told my staff often, I don’t want another academic study, I don’t want a master plan that just reiterates all the statistics that we’ve heard. I want to change California’s heart. I want to change Los Angeles’s heart. The problem with the city government is that it doesn’t have the primary responsibility for any of the major services that are necessary to end poverty so it doesn’t have mental health responsibility, it actually doesn’t even have the primary responsibility of housing issues. It doesn’t have social services responsibilities. So, all it can do is embellish those services that are out there and hopefully drive those services to a better place for the county. So we have to be better partners with the county, you have to be better partners with the school district… L.A. WEEKLY: But doesn’t that argue for your running for County Supervisor instead of mayor? Granted there is a division of labor between the county and the city that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but isn’t that what the division of labor is all about? RICHARD ALARCON: Creating a culture that is necessary to change the attitudes is something that every politician should do no matter what their position is. I happen to believe that as mayor you have a broader political pulpit than you do as a Board of Supervisors member. You can make a much broader statement as mayor than you could as a supervisor. Maybe someday I will end up as a supervisor because those are the issues I am passionate about the last time I checked Zev isn’t moving anywhere. L.A. WEEKLY: Don’t some people say that the city’s living wage policy and even the Big Box ordinance are the ways a city can deal with the poverty issue? RICHARD ALARCON: Well, I’ve already voted on all of those things. In fact, I introduced the one where I feel was the model for the city ordinance. L.A. WEEKLY: Do you mean the state bill that was vetoed? RICHARD ALARCON: Yeah, mine was modeled after Las Vegas. Because we all work with the same people, the unions actually helped us craft all of these, but it’s not the answer. The answer ultimately is raising the skill level for our work force in general. That’s an educational issue. The best way to raise taxes is to build a strong economy, expand your economy and that means good jobs that pay good wages. I vote for a living wage ordinance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe it’s the best way to solve the problem. Best way to solve the problem is to teach somebody how to become a doctor. But even if we could teach people to be mechanics, they would do better than they are today. We have 51 percent of the kids dropping out of school. When I went to Locke High School and asked them how many graduates they had they said 170, 138 and I asked them how many in their freshman class and they said 780. And I said I know where they’re going. They’re going into the penal institutions. They’re dying. They’re dropping out because they’re afraid to walk to school because, as one kid described to me, he had to walk through 12 different gang turfs just to get to school in a very short period of time. So we have to enable them to get the skills, and one of the things we do have to do is make them safer on their way to school. L.A. WEEKLY: What can you do as mayor to do something about this concern that is technically under the responsibility of the School Board or the Board of Supervisors? RICHARD ALARCON: Well, look at what I’ve done. I rebuilt the General Motors plant. It was blighted and shut down for six years. I found the developers. We worked with the community. That was the first 1,000,000 square feet of development that didn’t have a single protest in any step of the way because I brought the community into negotiate with the developers directly. I brought in the first Wal-Mart. I know it sounds crazy, I introduced the bill to force them to do an economic study but when they came in I said ‘you can’t have groceries because there are four grocery stores within two blocks.’ A Broadway store. And, and those wages are worse than Wal-Mart, quite frankly. So, it was hard to argue against it. They weren’t asking for a variance so I really couldn’t stop them, so we just negotiated to block them from providing groceries and at the same time, by virtue of them being an anchor driving the customers in, the 31 other businesses in the mall, turned around. I brought in 25 traffic signals in my district when no other district brought in five in that same period of time. My son was killed in a car accident. I’m very passionate about making our streets safer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Democrat or Republican; we’ve got to make our city safer. A lot of people make a lot of glowing promises. But the question is do they deliver on those promises? I make a lot of promises too, and I think I deliver on them. I promised I’d redevelop the General Motors plant. I rebuilt it. I promised I’d put more streetlights in, I did, I eliminated 100,000 abandoned vehicles from our district where kids were dealing drugs and, and doing tricks. We created 44 neighborhood watches because I believe in community empowerment. Let them make the decisions, let them get together and work together. I tell African Americans and Latinos you have more in common with your next-door neighbor than you do with somebody of the same ethnicity on the other side of the city. We need to work together. I would ask people to look at my record, and ask if I’ve kept my promises. L.A. WEEKLY: Given that you recognize that there is an important role in businesses in ending poverty, would you be able to work constructively with the Economic Development Corporation since they criticize city hall for being too concerned with social matters? RICHARD ALARCON: You don’t expect anybody to agree 100 percent with their spouse. Why should you agree with anybody on political matters 100 percent? I agree with Jack Kaiser on a lot of issues related to economic development. But the implementation of some of their thinking is too broad. You need to be more focused in their target. For example, we need more jobs. But we don’t need poverty wage jobs; we need good paying jobs. I want to create an environmental friendly corporate responsibility policy for the City of Los Angeles that reflects the corporate responsibility bills I’ve introduced in the legislature. I want to create a green business program, like Berkeley, where we give out seals of approval for companies that stand up to 14 different measures of environmental improvements in their community. If they do that then you give them a tax incentive. But if they’re paying low wages and dirtying our neighborhoods, why do we want to give them a reduction on their business taxes? It seems they should be paying more. Think that if you negotiate with the corporate culture from a position of weakness you’re going to lose. You have to negotiate from a position of strength and you empower your leverage if you have a high skill work force versus a low skill work force. So, it’s a combination of things that have to be done. You have to drive L. A. Unified to do a better job and produce higher skilled people and you have to drive corporate Americ to open themselves up to providing opportunities for people. So, the answer is, been there, done that. L.A. WEEKLY: How do you feel about the NFL coming to Los Angeles? How would you do it? RICHARD ALARCON: I think we need inspiration in the city. Kids need to have something to inspire them. I think sports do that. You can go skiing in the morning and swim at the beach in the evening. I support sports teams, sports venues, but I think that to force it into the Coliseum?? is a mistake. My dad stopped going to see Raider games because of the violence at the games. He was a former boxer. He was terrified of going to those games and he was... I was a Councilman and I was scared, too. National Football League games attract a lot more drinking…a lot more problems. The violence of football is something that you have to take special care to acculturate?? I love that Coliseum. I would absolutely want to support, uh, redeveloping it in a way that maintains it’s history but, but I think we need, we need to look at alternative venues. I think, uh, uh... L.A. WEEKLY: What is your opinion of L.A.’s recycling program? RICHARD ALARCON: I think I already improved it. I shut down local... We got to get the apartments on board with a recycling program as well. So we have a long way to go on recycling. L.A. WEEKLY: What do you say to people who think that at this point, it’s a race between Mayor Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa or Villaraigosa and Hertzberg? RICHARD ALARCON: I tell them if they want more of the same, that’s the attitude they have. My campaign is a campaign against money. It’s against the money being spent at city hall. My primary issue is the ballot measure to eliminate contractor and developer contributions in city hall. Look at the contribution list. Who are they getting their contributions from and who’s in first place, second place, third place, fourth place, and fifth place? Whoever is the highest money raiser, uh, will have the largest amount of contractor and developer contributions. I’m running against the money... Downtown interests. When I was running for City Council I was fifth in fund raising, but first in votes. I wouldn’t want it any other way, frankly. L.A. WEEKLY: How do you distinguish your message from Villaraigosa’s? RICHARD ALARCON: I’m a valley progressive, who is sending a message of unity. But I also have a track record of success in getting things done. I keep my promises. No other candidate can say that they worked hard on a specific plan like General Motors and got it done, from start to finish. I joined with Mayor Riordan to do charter reform, and to get more power down the neighborhood council system. In fact, I’m the only candidate who’s talking about allowing them to have planning authority. So, we’re two completely different candidates. People say, well, aren’t you going to split the Latino vote? Whenever you have two candidates, you split the vote; I don’t care where they come from. You’re going to split the vote with any two candidates. I’m splitting the vote with Antonio. I’m splitting the vote with Bob in terms of valley vote. I’m splitting the vote Parks because I represent 27 percent of the African American community and churches. So, if people want to be ethnocentric and, and look at two Latino guys running and say you’re splitting the vote, you know, technically you’re right. But, I offer a very different candidacy. L.A. WEEKLY: What do you propose to do about education? RICHARD ALARCON: First of all I’m a teacher. I agree with Bob Hertzberg that we need to empower local areas to have much more influence over schools. I believe that we can develop a system for LAUSD that centralizes those functions that create a scale such as purchasing and construction. At the same time we push down the decision-making to local levels like the neighborhood council system has. I’m not pushing it to the neighborhood councils; I’m just saying that I do believe that each high school should have its own level of review on issues like curriculum and school policy that the board doesn’t have to involve itself with. We need the board to focus on raising money to build up the entire system. Creating five or six more bureaucracies without empowering schools doesn’t mean anything to me. I was a parent advisory president. I know the paranoia that occurs when we walk into a classroom unannounced and the teacher calls the principal in a meeting and they sit down next to you. We’ve never really had the dynamic and we’ve never had the pressure, I also believe, however, that we should do things like creating local bond measures for regional areas. Right now, if you do a bond measure for schools... L.A. WEEKLY: It’s for the whole thing? RICHARD ALARCON: ...it’s for the whole district. But if you did an east San Fernando Valley bond measure just for San Fernando Valley, I bet they would vote for it. Now Chatsworth? You know, probably not. I think we have to look differently because we have such a radically different city. But to say we want to break it up during the middle of a campaign with the singular purpose of sounding progressive or sounding as if you want to solve a problem when, in fact, you haven’t really painted the details. I just think that’s disingenuous. Particularly, when you introduce legislation to make it more difficult. I voted for that bill that Bob Hertzberg wrote and, so now, what’s he going to say in four more years? I don’t know. But, you know, I’ve stayed the course. I think to allow radical solutions like breaking up the school district without knowing the full result of what you’re going for is something I’m not willing to do. Same with the secession movement, by the way. With seccession, I didn’t take a staunch position one way or the other because I wanted to see what was being proposed. Ultimately, when I saw the document it was horrendous. First of all the mayor and City Council would receive no compensation. Yet the valley was selling this plan saying that they would get the same compensation. Do I look like the crazy kind of person whose first act of mayor is going to the vote and asking them to raise the salaries of the City Council by $70,000 each? I would have to manage the city with 15 council members who don’t have a majority of the vote in their area. How are they going to mobilize people to support a bond measure to increase wages? it just wasn’t practical from a governance standpoint. We didn’t have any control over the DWP, so there was no provision in the Valley Seccession to allow the valley to control its DWP function. L.A. WEEKLY: You’re serious about the seccession though? RICHARD ALARCON: I decided not to run. I knew that I had a shot because we actually did do a poll on my candidacy for mayor in the San Fernando Valley and at the end of the day it was 47 to 49 for my becoming the mayor. I knew I would win in terms of all the other candidates, but succession would have been within 47 to 49 percent. So, it had a shot of winning. So, really, at that point I had to really look at the plan and say ‘is this something I want to do?’ Do I want to participate in separating the city or do I want to bring the city together? That’s the other reason I’m running for mayor. But it would have just devastated the south part of Los Angeles from a tax perspective. L.A. WEEKLY: Do you have any feelings about education? RICHARD ALARCON: The fundamental problem with our school system throughout California is that when a kid walks into high school the assumption is you’re not going to college. So, I wanted to invert that assumption so that when they walk in the assumption is they are going to college. That’s the legislation I’ve been working on for three years and it will be reintroduced this year. And it’s been gaining support because it’s part of the master plan as well. We’ve been getting that language into the master plan. my problem isn’t whether you go to college or not. Most people aren’t going to go to college. We don’t have the room. My problem is with getting them to the maximum productivity level. I believe a lot of people can do that. A lot of people who didn’t go to college are some of the wealthiest people in this country. C students can do very well in this country. They can even be president. I believe that if we assume that a student is going to college it frees up the councils to really deal with the kids that are struggling. L.A. WEEKLY: What was the one thing that affected you the most? RICHARD ALARCON: My sister was at Cal State Northridge at the time. In 1968 the African American students took over the administration building and I actually knew some of those people ‘cause even at 14 years old my sister took to Northridge Hall. Northridge Hall was where the African American and Latino students stayed. She was part of the advocates and there were only 30 African Americans and 30 Latinos on campus at the time. They were a pretty tough group. I got to know them. It was during that time. Anti war. Latino empowerment. I had felt discriminated against in some ways going to grammar school in a white school.Even though I don’t hold any grudges against any of them, it was just the time. And teachers telling me you’re never going to succeed. I was raised in a church that had a very liberal social justice policy. I believed in helping the poor if you could. Both my parents were raised in poverty in the San Fernando Valley. I started as a tutor in a local elementary school in Pacoima and realized I could help and it just sort of fed me. For the first time I felt protective, and I also felt that I could help. So, that became my motivation as opposed to going to Vietnam. L.A. WEEKLY: Where do you stand on the buses versus rail controversy? RICHARD ALARCON: We need the same kind of rules that I’m proposing in my ballot measure at the MTA. I served on the MTA’s board as an alternate and fought for the 200 natural gas buses when they wanted to go back to diesel. I was supportive of the bus driver’s position on the court action. In fact, I spoke out in favor of their lawsuit and in negotiations in an executive session. I made it very clear that MTA was throwing money away. I called for an audit last year on the MTA legal expenditures. Just like the City of L. A. audit that I called for back in August to look at the lawyers contract. these same people are contributing massive amounts of dollars to…I read in the L. A. Times that the lowest of the contracts for the City of Los Angeles contributed $255,000 to Mayor Hahn’s campaign. So there seems to be this insidious desire to create litigation at both the MTA and the city for the benefit of outside private counsel. if you need that much counseling, you can probably hire somebody full time on a decent civil service wage to become an expert in it. that’s why I’m not opposed to outside contracting. I’m not opposed to private contracting. I am opposed to doing it when it could be incorporated as a full time job in the civil service system. occasionally you need a crane. But if you need a window washer all the time, you need to bring him in house because over time you gain long-term benefits. L.A. WEEKLY: Is there an extension on the deadline for the valley? RICHARD ALARCON: Absolutely. We need $50 billion in investment in our transportation system. We’re not going to have that opportunity in the next ten years. What we really need to do as a city is build a consensus on what it is we want. With consensus then we can negotiate and fight with Washington and Sacramento to get the resources that you need. One of the major failings of this particular administration is that they failed to build consensus. That’s why all the Board of Supervisors vote against the LAX plan. What kind of message are we sending to Washington? We’ve learned over and over again that other small cities are leapfrogging over us in terms of getting federal dollars because we can’t get our act together. I believe we can gain support over time to get the dollars necessary. In the meantime, however, on the transportation problem, we need to make the port 24-7. It’s 8:00 to 5:00. We can multiply the utilization of time by four, increase productivity, move the goods faster and get those trucks off the freeway. I’m introducing legislation to do that. Wal-Mart is using the port as a warehouse. How come one of you hasn’t written a story about the illegal use of public land as a warehouse? Where the shipping lines are giving them three weeks storage in trade for a discount and they’re blocking shipment of goods and that’s why the trucks are backed up at the port. Wal-Mart is the largest mover of goods at the terminal. We own the terminal, folks, it’s our terminal. We ought to block it. I’m doing research right now to find out if we can charge them for the time that they spend there. Give them three days. After three days, you pay us. That’s why the shipping lines don’t want me. That’s why the airlines don’t want me. Because I’m suing the airport. I mean, I want to you know. I’m not the financial choice for large corporations in Los Angeles. Um, but I’m going to speak up because these issues need to be heard. And I’ll say them no matter what my position is. L.A. WEEKLY: Who is the financial choice? RICHARD ALARCON: Any number of candidates. L.A. WEEKLY: What programs have you supported in the valley that you would use in L. A. to stop gang violence? RICHARD ALARCON: Mayor Bradley hired me when I was 27 years old as a senior policy analyst on criminal justice issues. Eventually I became the administrative director to go clean up the countywide gang population. Since I was even younger I was working with gangs in Sun Valley and I was an alternate public defender. When I left teaching I went to work in an alternate education program for gang members. And I counseled them. I trained young women, many of who were also involved with gangs. suppression is necessary. prevention is necessary and that’s education. in fact they formulated a specific project for my district ‘cause I refuse to believe that putting intervention series into middle school is going to solve our crime problems, particularly when they change from ninth graders to eighth graders. they’re not gang bangers in the eighth grade. I don’t care what school they go to. There are a few. But that’s not the problem. We need to move with the LA Bridges resources, and try to couple whatever other resources we can get into an intervention strategy that’s truly targeted at the violence and the drug dealers. by the way, drugs is really the problem of gangs. It’s not a gang problem. It’s a drug problem. everything emanates from there. there isn’t another candidate unless you want to consider Bernie Parks. But there isn’t another candidate who’s worked hands-on on this subject. I really do care about the killings. There’s 511 families who lost somebody last year, and I know their plight. I don’t want to go through that. when I was working for Mayor Bradley, there was never more than 200 out there. now, we have two and a half times more. I would focus on gang violence. L.A. WEEKLY: Senator, there are people, myself among them, who found much to admire in your career, but we’re always given pause by the closing stretch of your campaign against Richard Katz back in the early ‘90s, where there was a last minute allegation that Katz had a role in suppressing the Latino vote, whereas Katz’s role, actually, as a leader of the Assembly Democrats in Sacramento, has been to protest Curt Pringle and the Republicans’ role in suppressing Latino votes. Any comments on that particular incident in that campaign? RICHARD ALARCON: That was another mistake. The idea was actually the other portion of the letter that was sent which provided ID cards because many of the new voters who come from Mexico, they’re familiar with the system in Mexico that provides them with a voter ID card. We were simply trying to get an ID card so that they would feel they had an official document. They had an official right to vote. All the little card said was their voter registration number and the location of the polling place. That was the goal but we also wanted to send a message. Ideally, we wanted to get Cruz Reynoso to sign a letter saying go vote, basically, challenge them. It’s your responsibility to vote. Frankly, somewhere in the translation, remember, this was an independent expenditure. We got notice of a contribution to my campaign two days before the election. I never really saw the last product. Somewhere in between my approval of the concept and the actual implementation of a letter, it went haywire. I take responsibility for that, but first of all, nobody seemed to care that Richard Katz put out a mailer with my wife’s Social Security number. They did the same thing with mine, but I can take the shot. But to put your wife’s name on there that was low. So, the campaign got down and dirty. There was no basis for his lawsuit because Richard Katz was essentially arguing that he was not affiliated with the Republicans that were named on the flier, when, in fact, he had produced mailers suggesting that he was affiliated with these same, exact people. The judge threw it out because, he said, you affiliated yourself with these people. Why is it wrong for him to affiliate you with these people? But, I’m not very pleased with it. I feel bad about it and that’s one of the reasons on this campaign that I want to be very careful. I wanted to be positive. Let the voters decide about what they think about Mayor Hahn. I want them to know who I am and what I want to do. L.A. WEEKLY: Did Katz ever accept your apology? RICHARD ALARCON: Katz and I get along. We, we don’t, we’re not, you know, you know, go drinking, but... L.A. WEEKLY: But at the time, he made a big deal about not accepting your apology. RICHARD ALARCON: I don’t remember. I think all things considered, he would rather have seen a clean race, period. He was in this business a lot longer than I was, and he had seen a lot of uglier campaigns than ours. I have to say this. I’m absolutely confident that it didn’t really make a difference in the race. So, I don’t feel bad about that side of it. I don’t remember him specifically apologizing but we have had conversations as recently as the last couple of months. It’s not like we seek each other out, but when we bump into each other we’re friendly. L.A. WEEKLY: By necessity, we spend a lot of time talking about what’s wrong with the city, and what can be done about it, but what, to you, is helpful and inspiring about the city? What does it embody at its best? RICHARD ALARCON: Well, first of all, the people. The diversity of the city is just phenomenal. If it’s right for stockbrokers to recommend diversification, then, why isn’t it that we can’t embrace diversity? I was one of the founders of The San Fernando Valley Leadership Project. They put us in a brochure, and they had us come up with a quote. This is back in 1987, ’88. My quote was, ‘we as a society need to embrace our diversity to solve our problems instead of blaming our diversity for our problems.’ I think that quote holds today.wherever I go in the city, I just meet incredible people. if we could just harness that diversity and turn it into productivity it would be an amazing thing. I’m not just talking about diversity in all its ramifications, economically, artistically, and everything. And Los Angeles has a little bit of everything. I believe that Los Angeles can be a model for the rest of the nation, which is growing in its diversity component by component. There will always be wealth in Los Angeles. The question is whether there will be the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. The idea is to spread more people into the middle. What I think we need to do is just embrace that incredible diversity we have. We have everything in LA. Let’s make it work, no more personal questions.


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