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The Mayor Looks Back on A Rough Year, Thinks It's Great

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In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily News, Mayor Villaraigosa, in the face of many obvious city problems, declares 2009 "one of the best years we've had.

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The heart of the story, from a Daily News report:

Villaraigosa's optimism flies in the face of the problems many see on the horizon, but he remains convinced only better days are ahead.

As he looks back over the past year, Villaraigosa sees successes dating back to November 2008 with Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for public transit, and his efforts to prevent the state from taking more gas tax and sales tax funds from cities.

Also, the city's youth jobs program has more than quadrupled to 16,000 young people, while crime - particularly gang crime - remains at historic low levels and reforms he has long sought at the Los Angeles Unified School District are beginning.

His much-vaunted plans for a Subway to the Sea are finally being developed as he pushes to accelerate federal funding.

"I think we made 14 or 15 trips back to Washington and it paid off," Villaraigosa said. "We got more than $430 million in stimulus dollars and were able to make the case for cities and make the case for Los Angeles. No one else was speaking out for the cities."

And his lobbying in Sacramento prevented the state Legislature from raiding the gas tax fund, which would have meant a loss of $168 million more from the city.

For an entertaining counter to the mayor's optimism, see this long L.A. Times story about upcoming city employee losses and its possible impact on city services, and the continuing costs to our general fund from paying off pensions and benefits early, reprinted and annotated by City Council gadfly Zuma Dogg.

City of Angles has been on top of various city problems the mayor is seeing past, from budgets to education to water.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user StewartJames. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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