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Two decades ago I started my career in public service, working with Mayor Tom Bradley. This man was a towering figure in my life who inspired me and taught me to put people first and find practical solutions to problems.
It was during this pivotal time in my life that I came to know and love South Los Angeles.
Twenty years later, as I run to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, I am humbled by the support I have received from influential leaders in this community like Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Magic Johnson, and the endorsement of faith and civic leaders like Bishop Charles E. Blake, Bishop Kenneth T. Ulmer, Reverend Chip Murray, and Danny Bakewell of the Sentinel.
These leaders understand that Los Angeles voters have an important choice before them on May 21.
They can either choose the paralysis and failed leadership that has left us with record unemployment, budget deficits, and depleted core services - or they can choose to make progress.
This choice is critical for South Los Angeles, a region that cannot afford to be ignored or neglected.
As your mayor, you have my commitment that I will always fight on your behalf.
TOGETHER we’ll build a better city that dedicates itself to ensuring opportunity and equality for all.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
While working at DreamWorks Studios, I helped create job training partnerships with churches in South Los Angeles.
As City Controller for the past four years, I have fought to help minority-owned businesses and to root out fraud and abuse.
As Mayor, I will never stop fighting for South Los Angeles.
My office will have five priorities for this region that will revitalize our communities and get people back to work.
First, we'll focus on investing in job training programs and ensuring we are partnering with our community colleges to prepare workers for the jobs of today.
Second, we'll look at development block-by-block, supporting the businesses that are already here. That means making sure LA businesses get the first crack at doing business with the City.
Third, we will improve our technology infrastructure. Every neighborhood should have the infrastructure to support innovative businesses, and innovation hubs throughout the city will help businesses expand to new areas like South LA.
Fourth, we will reinvest Community Redevelopment Agency Dollars in the community. The City is receiving tens of millions of dollars from the state from the dissolution of the Community Redevelopment Agency. These dollars ought to be devoted to communities like South LA, where the economic stimulus is most needed.
Fifth, we will identify ways to increase neighborhood retail opportunities to create more jobs. We need to create incentives to encourage national retailers to move into under-served communities.
And this plan is only the beginning.
Education, public safety and access to public transit—including a Metro station at Leimert Park--will be important priorities for my administration.
When I worked for Mayor Bradley, I helped start LA's BEST, a nationally recognized after-school program that gives thousands of kids a safe place to be after school. As your Mayor, I will work to expand LA's BEST to more schools.
I will also invest in community policing, prevention and intervention so our children grow up safely. And I'll fight to reduce gun violence and make mental health services accessible for everyone.
This city's future -- and the future of South LA -- depends upon us all making sure that our friends, our neighbors, and our relatives go to the polls and choose progress over paralysis.
This is our chance to create a better LA.
I need your support, and I will be honored to serve you as YOUR Mayor.