Tuesday, July 3, 2001
Hahn Takes Oath at City Hall Ceremony, Vows to Keep City Together
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
New Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn yesterday vowed to put more police on the street, improve public schools, and develop an economic strategy—goals pulled from the playbook of his predecessor, Richard Riordan.
“Let’s get to work,” Hahn exclaimed at the conclusion of a short inaugural address on the ceremonial South Steps of City Hall.
He also promised to keep intact a city plagued by racial and economic division and a coming battle over secession by the San Fernando Valley.
“I am committed to keeping Los Angeles together,” Hahn said. “We will make the great city of Los Angeles understand that we are stronger together than if we go our separate ways. We will do this, not by scaring or threatening our fellow citizens, but the old-fashioned way: by earning the trust of every single community.”
Hahn, who was sworn in by Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson, becomes the city’s 40th mayor and continues the family tradition in elected office begun in the 1940s by his father, the late city councilman and county supervisor Kenneth Hahn. His late uncle, Gordon Hahn, also served as a council member, and his sister, Janice Hahn was sworn in yesterday to serve on the council.
“Janice, Dad would have been so proud of you today,” James Hahn said.
Hahn himself already has served 20 years in elective office, the last 16 as city attorney.
The new mayor paid tribute to his gregarious father’s memory, saying Kenneth Hahn taught him “that politics and public service are about people.”
“As your new mayor I will be guided by that fundamental principle every day,” Hahn said.
He issued a “thank you” to every section of the city for supporting him in the recent election, calling out the names of various communities.
“I will honor your belief in me,” he said—then repeated his words of thanks in Spanish.
“Gracias a cada parte de esta grand ciudad,” Hahn said.
He also made a point of paying tribute to former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, his opponent in the recently concluded and hard fought mayoral runoff.
Hahn had angered many Latinos with an attack television ad that slammed Villaraigosa for writing a letter on behalf of convicted drug trafficker Carlos Vignali. Some saw the commercial as pandering to fear and anti-Latino sentiment.
The new mayor twice thanked Riordan, first for his “outstanding leadership of the city through natural and man-made crises,” then for his work on pressing forward with a new city charter that increases mayoral power while directly empowering residents through neighborhood councils.
“Neighborhood councils can reduce the largest distance in Los Angeles,” he said. “The distance between City Hall and our neighborhoods.”
He vowed to give councils “the resources they need and the attention they deserve.”
Hahn turns 51 tomorrow. A lifelong Democrat, he is a Los Angeles native who got his undergraduate and law degrees at Pepperdine University. He has been married since 1984 to Monica Hahn, a homemaker and part-time movie location scout. They have two young children, Karina and Jackson.
Earlier, the new city attorney, the new controller, and eight City Council members were sworn into office.
Riordan administered the oath to City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who takes over the spot Hahn has held for four terms. Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg of Van Nuys gave the oath to City Controller Laura Chick, who was elected to the post after serving two council terms.
New council members Ed Reyes, Dennis Zine, Jack Weiss, Jan Perry and Janice Hahn were sworn in by City Clerk J. Michael Carey. So were Alex Padilla and Cindy Miscikowski, who were re-elected to second terms, and Eric Garcetti, who was elected at the same time as the others but already has been serving for several weeks to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Jackie Goldberg to the state Assembly.
Many of the elected officials actually took the oath of office a day earlier, at public and private ceremonies around the city. The four-year term officially began Sunday.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company