Excerpts From Mayor's Inauguration Speech

Excerpts from the inaugural address of James K. Hahn, 40th mayor of Los Angeles:

First, on behalf of the people of Los Angeles, I would like to thank Richard Riordan for his outstanding service to our city. Through natural and man-made crises, he has guided us with a steady hand and a generous heart.

Thank you to every person in every part of this great city, from San Pedro to Sylmar, from Mar Vista to El Sereno, from Watts to Canoga Park. I will honor your belief in me by my commitment to improve the quality of life for all our people.

Gracias a cada parte de este gran ciudad, de San Pedro a Sylmar, de Mar Vista a El Sereno, de Watts a Canoga Park. Gracias por creer in mi. Yo estoy compremetido a mejorar la vida de todas personas de Los Angeles.

The diverse communities of this city unite around shared aspirations; aspirations that sometimes seem complicated, sometimes seem out of reach. But Mayor Tom Bradley described our community's history and spirit best. He said: "We've already done so much that people call impossible. However, if the bumblebee knew the theory of aerodynamics, he would not be able to fly. But the bumblebee, being unaware of scientific truths, goes ahead and flies anyway. If it is possible, we will do it here."

Stressing Public Safety

Let's build a safe community that allows all our people to live and work in a free and open environment. Our city should have effective law enforcement, but we should also have the will and the foresight to prevent crime in the first place. . . . This city cannot afford to continue losing police officers and we're going to have to open our minds to new approaches to retain and recruit more police officers.

As mayor, I'll continue the work I've done as city attorney on police reform. We're going to make the consent decree work. Police reform means we're going to have a Police Department that protects and respects the people it serves. Police reform doesn't mean that we're going to scapegoat the 99% of our policemen and women who do a great job for this city every single day.

The people of Los Angeles recognize that the future of this city and its children depends on the quality of our schools. . . . I'm deeply committed to expanding our after-school programs. . . . The construction of new schools is where the city and the school district must learn to work together. For too long, school construction has been held hostage to a slow-motion bureaucracy. This must end.

As mayor, I will tackle gridlock on our streets with common sense and innovation. Look, L.A. is still a car culture and fixing our streets and roads must be a top priority. And let's have the vision to build a transit system that will make our city and its many opportunities accessible to all of our people. . . .

New City Charter

Look, I believe in an entrepreneurial Los Angeles. And that means implementing business tax reform and making city government more business-friendly.

Affordable housing may not be an issue with strong interest group support, but it's an issue my administration will support. These families need homes. Los Angeles needs a $100-million housing trust fund. Now is the time to make that happen. . . .

Part of . . . [Los Angeles'] new charter talked about something very exciting: neighborhood councils. Now, neighborhood councils can reduce the longest distance in Los Angeles: the distance between City Hall and our neighborhoods. I'm committed to making them work by giving them the resources they need and the attention that they deserve. . . .

For those who did not support me, I will work every day to make sure you know that I am truly your mayor. We will make the great city of Los Angeles strong by making the people of this city understand that we're stronger together than if we go our separate ways. We're going to do this not by scaring or threatening our fellow citizens, but the old-fashioned way: by earning the trust of every single community.

And I won't do it alone. As mayor, I'm not going to head an isolated, separate branch of government. The mayor, the city attorney, the city controller and the City Council are all part of the same team: the Los Angeles team. I will listen to the city's elected officials because they too speak for the people. . . .

Over each of the entrances to City Hall are inscriptions. And we choose this side of City Hall to take the oath of office because of the inscription above us from Cicero. It reads: "He who violates his oath profanes the divinity of faith itself."

. . . Well, it's been a long day already and I know that some of you are hot out there in the sun. I've enjoyed this moment, my time here in the sun. But when Vaclav Havel became president of Czechoslovakia, he said he "would speak less and work more."

Let's get to work!

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