Last month, L.A. Streetsblog Editor Damien Newton and Streetsblog LITE editor Veronica Hernandez sat down for a wide-ranging 45 minute interview with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Deputy Mayor for Transportation Borja Leon and Communications Deputy Barb Solish.
Our two-part series shows a Mayor’s office that had a long-term plan for transportation planning when Villaraigosa took office seven years ago. Despite jeers from many quarters, including this one, it’s undeniable that the city has made long strides this year. You can read Streetblog’s coverage of the interview here and here.
One of the great things about working in this medium is the ability to do more than just write articles. Streetsblog is proud to present the audio from the interview below. We broke the interview up as best we could so that people can find topics that they are most interested in hearing more. Sometimes Villaraigosa jumped between topics too fast to do a clean editing job.
The Mayor kicks off the interview by telling the story of how his son, ie the next generation, “lives” more environmentally sustainably than the current one.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/villaraigosaonjr.mp3 ]
Villaraigosa discusses the politics of his first, unsuccessful, run for mayor and how it impacted his thinking on planning strategy.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/FromfirstmayoralCampaigntoMeasureR.mp3 ]
Early years as Metro Board Chair[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/Villaraigosaearlyyearsaschair.mp3 ]
The Battle of Measure R[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/villaraigosameasurerbattle.mp3 ]
More on the Battle of Measure R[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/MeasureRbattle.mp3 ]
Once Measure R was passed, there were a host of new challenges. These included passing a Long Term Transportation Plan and finding ways to “speed up” construction.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/ImplementingMeasureR.mp3 ]
Maybe you’ve heard, but the Mayor’s Office has been involved in work with CicLAvia and expanding the bike network.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/CicLAviaandbikeplanning.mp3 ]
Of course, this is still Los Angeles. Villaraigosa also discussed ways to improve and modernize the local freeway system, including a battle over congestion pricing.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/Highwaysandcongestionpricing.mp3 ]
The Mayor makes the case for acceleration, and not just of transit projects. When he says “those guys,” he’s referring to the media in general and the Times’ editorial board in particular.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/caseforaccelerationthoseguys.mp3 ]
Towards the end of the interview, Villaraigosa spoke more generally of things we, as a society, we need to commit to.[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/caseforaccelerationthoseguys.mp3 ]
Wrap Up: Villaraigosa declines to say he wants Ray LaHood’s Job[audio:http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/wrapup.mp3 ]