Villaraigosa Talks Up 'Radical Middle'
Hosted by USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, the topic of the discussion was about job creations, and Villaraigosa shared his thoughts on creating jobs and boosting the L.A. economy in encouraging business investment, cultural benefits, improving transportation and education.
Villaraigosa brought up the notion of the radical middle, which in his words is to take the best of the right and left to move the nation forward. It sounds something like Confucius' Doctrine of the Mean—bent neither one way nor the other.
The cultural diversity of L.A, the mayor went on, benefits the city in business investment. A large number of L.A. business owners are foreign born, and these immigrants have the tie and enthusiasm to do business in their home countries. He said he's met Korean and Latino business owners who expressed interest in investing in Korean and Mexico, and by working with fastest growing economies in Latin America and Asia, Villaraigosa said he believes this openness will create a more diverse market in the city.
“L.A. doesn’t care who your father is,” Villaraigosa said.
He praised L.A. as a city of equal opportunity and as the city of the 21st century, following in the footsteps of London in the 19th century and New York in the 20th century. He said attitude is crucial in boosting the economy by making it easier for business investment and job creation on many small things like regulation and tax raise. The mayor, however, blamed the state government for not responding to the needs of cities. He said Sacramento didn’t put anything on the plate and that it takes money and resources to develop a city.
The audience applauded his suggestion of extending school days to let kids have more time in school. The mayor seems to have a wide range of concern about education, from school dropouts, graduate rates to students’ public safety.
When asked about building a stadium for an NFL team, he said, "We need the marriage of the NFL and L.A.”