Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was sworn in Wednesday for a second term as chief executive of the nation's second most populous city, vowing to lure businesses to Los Angeles and "to get even tougher on the root causes of crime."
"Our first goal is job creation," Villaraigosa said. "As your mayor, I am going to make it my number one priority to be L.A.'s number one salesman. I'm going to have a toothbruth in my briefcase and a speech in hand. Bring your jobs to L.A.! We are open for business."
With unemployment in Los Angeles pegged at 12.5 percent in March, the worst in three decades, the mayor vowed to aggressively target emerging business sectors.
"We are going to sit down face-to-face with our friends in the business community whenever and wherever we see the opportunity to help hire local workers and create local jobs. We know we can no longer sit back and rely on the sunshine to sell L.A," Villaraigosa said.
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He said the center of his economic strategy is environmental innovation. He reiterated his promise that the city will get 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by next year, and to eliminate the city's use of coal by 2020.
However, he conceded that "breaking the coal habit... will require investment from ratepayers."
The mayor also vowed to maintain the Los Angeles Police Department "at its highest level in history."
He said, "in the next four years, I will fight day in and day out to keep all 10,000 officers on the street and keep our police force at its highest level in history."
But, he added, along with keep cops on the street, the city must tackle the underlying causes of crime.
"...In the next four years, we are going to get even tougher on the root causes of crime. Our strategy begins with an expanded emphasis on gang prevention and intervention," Villaraigosa said.
The strategy envisions "reclaiming dozens more parks and giving thousands of young people a refuge from violence in the summertime, when the days are longest and nights the hottest."
Villaraigosa also promised to lead "the largest mass transit construction program anywhere in the United States of America" and build a dozen rail projects on time or ahead of schedule, creating more than 210,000 jobs.
On education, the mayor said the slow pace of progress in the city's schools is unacceptable.
"In the next four years, I will lead an effort to shut down failing schools and reconstitute these schools as charters, as partnership campuses, or as district schools committed to metrics-driven measurable progress," Villaraigosa said. We can no longer afford to accept the same old tired excuses for failure."
Reelected in March with what pundits described as a disappointing 55 percent vote, Villaraigosa begins his second and final term nine days after announcing he would not run for governor.
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher served as master of ceremonies at Wednesday's inauguration, Grammy winner Patti Austin sang the national anthem, and Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar, Villaraigosa's sister, administered the oath of office.
City Controller-elect Wendy Greuel, City Attorney-elect Carmen Trutanich and Councilman-elect Paul Koretz were also be sworn in, along with re-elected council members Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes, Dennis Zine, Richard Alarcon, Jan Perry, Bill Rosendahl, and Janice Hahn.