Antonio R. Villaraigosa is the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles.
He was first sworn in as Mayor on July 1, 2005. His second term began on July 1, 2009. He is currently President of the US Conference of Mayors. Leading the nation’s mayors, Villaraigosa has advocated for innovative public policy reforms to create jobs, improve the country’s public schools, and expand investment in America’s transportation infrastructure.
As Mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa has pursued an agenda of making Los Angeles the safest big city in America, building a 21st century transportation system, achieving fundamental and far-reaching education reform, spurring economic development by eliminating government red tape and streamlining the City bureaucracy, and making Los Angeles a national model of sustainability and green growth.
Under Villaraigosa’s leadership, Los Angeles has reached a number of historic milestones:
- More police officers are on the streets than at any point in City history. Crime has dropped to levels not seen since the 1950s.
- The Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development has developed the City’s first comprehensive anti-gang strategy and has contributed to a dramatic citywide decline in gang violence.
- Billion dollar modernizations at both LAX ($4.1 billion) and the Port of Los Angeles ($1.5 billion) are currently underway. Both projects will generate tens of thousands of construction and permanent jobs and maintain Los Angeles’ status as a premier hub of international trade and tourism.
- With the passage of Measure R, a half-penny sales tax increase dedicated to transportation, Los Angeles County will invest $40 billion in new rail, road and highway projects.
- By the end of Villaraigosa’s second term, four new transit lines will have opened and four will be under construction.
- Since 2005, the number of LAUSD schools meeting California’s Academic Performance goal has doubled.
- There has been a 100% increase in the number of charter schools, and nearly 100 low performing schools have undergone innovative transformations, with leadership dedicated to improving student learning.
- Since 1996, Villaraigosa has co-chaired bond initiatives that have brought in $20 billion to finance the building of 111 new schools and 60 school addition projects, providing 124,000 new classroom seats and decreasing the number of schools operating on a multi-track calendar by 89%.
- Villaraigosa founded the Partnership, one of the largest school turnaround organizations in the country, to improve student learning at low performing schools and pilot innovations that can be replicated throughout the District. The Partnership serves nearly 17,000 students across 22 schools in LA’s most underserved neighborhoods.
- Los Angeles has met the Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gases four years ahead of schedule. The City has also met its first target of getting 20% of its energy from renewable sources. Through its Clean Trucks Program, the Port of Los Angeles has taken over 2,000 dirty diesel trucks off the roads and reduced emissions by 80%.
- The City is on track to synchronize all traffic lights in Los Angeles, a measure which will save travel time and reduce carbon emissions by 1 metric ton.
- 650 acres of new park space have been completed, more than the previous 12 years combined.
Building on the historic success of Measure R and continuing his leadership in the transportation arena, Villaraigosa is leading a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 mayors, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the AFL-CIO in support of America Fast Forward, an innovative transportation funding plan currently before Congress.
Under America Fast Forward, municipalities that dedicate local dollars for transportation projects could leverage federal funds in order to accelerate the construction of their road and rail projects. America Fast Forward would spur billions of dollars in transportation investment and generate as many as 1 million jobs nationwide.
Before being elected as Mayor, Villaraigosa served on the Los Angeles City Council and in the California State Assembly.
Elected as the Councilmember to Los Angeles’ 14th District in 2003, Villaraigosa was widely credited with resolving the Metropolitan Transit Authority transit strike, creating the largest passive park on the Eastside of Los Angeles, and protecting funding for the Arts.
In 1994, Villaraigosa was elected to the California State Assembly and, four years later, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years. While in the Assembly, Villaraigosa spearheaded a $9.1 billion initiative to rebuild and modernize California schools, led a $2.1 billion initiative to provide parks and open space throughout the state, funded an extensive expansion of water quality enforcement by the state, and authored the state health insurance program, Healthy Families.
Villaraigosa’s sense of civic justice and political action began at a young age. As a high school student, he volunteered with the farm workers movement and led student walkouts.
After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, Villaraigosa attended UCLA, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He went on to attend the People’s College of Law, a night school dedicated to public-interest law.
By the age of 25, Villaraigosa was elected President of a local union representing civil rights workers and lawyers in six states. Over the next fifteen years, Villaraigosa continued this work as a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union, United Teachers Los Angeles, and then as President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Government Employees.
Born on January 23, 1953 in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, Villaraigosa is the oldest of four children raised by a single mother, Natalia Delgado.
Gaye Williams – Chief of Staff
Gaye has dedicated more than thirty years of her life to non-partisan public service. She most recently served as Senior Managing Director in the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Business Policy. In this role, she helped drive job creation policies in Los Angeles such as the “Internet business” tax holiday, the “new business” tax holiday and the City’s “local preference” policy. She has served at City Hall before as Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Relations to Mayor Richard Riordan. In the 1990s, Gaye worked as director of Governor Pete Wilson’s Los Angeles office as city, state and federal agencies worked to recover from the Northridge Earthquake, which was done in record time. Before her role in the Wilson administration, Williams worked as Assistant Chief Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana.
Matt Szabo – Deputy Chief of Staff
Matt previously served as Senior Press Secretary and chief spokesperson for the Mayor. Matt has extensive experience in driving policy initiatives and developing and executing communications strategies. Serving as the Mayor’s chief spokesperson for the prior two years, Matt holds extensive knowledge of a broad range of city issues and policy areas central to the Mayor’s administration. Matt’s experience in Los Angeles government includes working as press secretary to former City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and as director of legislation and communications for then-City Councilmember Wendy Greuel. Matt also served former Mayor Richard Riordan as City Council Liaison and State Government Affairs Manager, and later as deputy press secretary for Mayor Riordan’s gubernatorial campaign. Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame and attended the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California.
Larry Frank – Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood and Community Services
Larry is responsible for several city departments (Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, Community Development Department and the Bureau of Contract Administration), the Mayor’s field operations, constituent services, volunteer services, external Labor issues, workforce development and the City’s anti-poverty programs. Before coming to City Hall, Larry was a faculty member at UCLA, where he worked as both the Staff Director and Research Director for the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education. Larry graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from St. Lawrence University with a B.A in Religious Studies. After graduation, while on leave from Princeton Seminary, he took a full-time position with the United Farm Workers Union.
Borja Leon– Deputy Mayor for Transportation
Borja is responsible for developing and implementing Mayor Villaraigosa’s transportation agenda at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), and the City’s Department of Public Works. In addition, Borja and his team work with other local, state, and federal agencies involved with transportation matters. Before becoming the Deputy Mayor for Transportation, Borja served as a Policy Analyst for the Mayor’s office, where he worked to develop and implement programs to reduce traffic. From 2000 to 2005 Borja was employed by Caltrans, where he was involved in project development and engineering for major highway and interchange projects. Borja started his career with AECOM Inc., where he worked on rail, highway, structural bridge and port infrastructure projects. He is a Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of California. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Davis.
Guillermo Cespedes - Deputy Mayor for Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD)
Guillermo has spent more than thirty years of his life working with socially and economically marginalized families in communities such as Harlem, The Bronx, South Norwalk Connecticut, East Oakland California, and South Central Los Angeles. During his professional career, he has designed and implemented innovative approaches designed to strengthen the problem solving abilities of families coping with heroin addiction, alcoholism, chronic illness, domestic violence, as well as gang-related violence. Guillermo joined the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development in December 2007 initially as the Program Manager for the Baldwin Village/Southwest Gang Reduction and Youth Development Zone. He was named Director of the Summer Night Lights Program in 2008 and guided that successful violence prevention strategy during the summers of 2008 and 2009. Guillermo assumed the position as Deputy Mayor for the Gang Reduction Youth Development office in September of 2009.
Eileen Decker - Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety (HSPS)
Eileen oversees all aspects of the Mayor’s public safety policy initiatives, emergency preparedness and counterterrorism policy, serves as the principal liaison to federal, state and local law enforcement, and administers over $400 million in federal and state criminal justice and homeland security grants awarded to the City of Los Angeles. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Eileen spent nearly 15 years with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, most recently in her role as Chief of the National Security Section. As the first Chief of this section, she developed the national security program at the United States Attorney’s Office and oversaw counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and export enforcement cases in the district. She is a graduate of New York University School of Law and was a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School.
Matt Karatz – Deputy Mayor for Economic and Business Policy
Matt serves as Mayor Villaraigosa’s senior advisor on economic development matters. Matt oversees 13 City departments ranging from the Department of Water and Power and City Planning to the LA Convention Center and Community Redevelopment Agency. He also has responsibility over the economic development initiatives at the Port of Los Angeles and at Los Angeles World Airports (LAX). These departments have revenues of approximately $8 billion and employ 17,000 people. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Matt built a career in real estate development, including senior executive positions at Caruso Affiliated and KB Home.
Joan Sullivan – Deputy Mayor for Education
Joan oversees the Mayor’s education policy agenda, working with the superintendent and board president to bring transformative change to the nation’s second largest school district. She also oversees the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit designed to accelerate student achievement at LAUSD’s lowest performing schools. Joan previously spent a decade as a teacher and then as the founding principal of a high-poverty, high-performing public secondary school in the South Bronx. Before entering the classroom, Joan worked on Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign and documented her experiences in a book entitled An American Voter. She began her career working as an investigator for the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates police misconduct. Joan holds a M.S. in School Leadership and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale College, where she earned All-American honors in lacrosse.
Romel Pascual – Deputy Mayor for Environment
As Deputy Mayor for the Environment, Romel is the senior advisor on all environmental priorities for the Mayor, including climate change, renewable energy, water conservation, energy efficiency, environmental justice, the LA River, open space, green building, and sustainability. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Mayor’s environmental and energy agenda with respect to the Board of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation, Bureau of Engineering, Bureau of Street Lighting, Department of Recreation and Parks, and MWD. Romel was one of the principal authors of the Mayor’s GreenLA Climate Change Action Plan released in 2007. He represents the City of Los Angeles on the steering committee for the C40 Large Cities Climate Group. Romel served as California’s first Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice from 2000-2004, where he led the efforts in developing the state’s inaugural environmental justice program. He also led the U.S. EPA Region 9’s Environmental Justice Program from 1997-2000. He has a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley.
Aileen Adams – Deputy Mayor for Strategic Partnerships
Since July 2009, Aileen has served as the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Partnerships, a position designed to maximize collaboration between the City and the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Previously, Aileen served as a State Cabinet official under Governor Davis; headed the Office for Victims of Crime in the U.S. Justice Department under President Clinton; and served for more than a decade as a City Fire Commissioner. She is a former City prosecutor and an award-winning Los Angeles Technical Police Reserve Officer. For many years, Aileen was Legal Counsel at the UCLA Rape Treatment Center, where she played a major role in reforming California’s sexual assault laws. She has served on dozens of nonprofit and foundation boards, including the California Women’s Foundation and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
Paula Daniels – Senior Advisor on Food Policy
Paula specializes in sustainable food and water policy, including watershed and urban runoff management, water reuse, and regional food systems. She took this position in the summer of 2011 after six years as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner, where she developed the Green Streets Initiative, Low Impact Development Ordinance, and Food Policy Framework. Until her appointment by Mayor Villaraigosa to the Board of Public Works, she had a long career in civil litigation as a trial attorney, mediator and arbitrator. Her environmental career started with Heal the Bay, an organization whose mission is to improve and protect Southern California coastal waters and beaches. Paula was also commissioner with the California Coastal Commission. She founded the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, a collaborative network working to make Southern California a good food region for everyone – where food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable.
Neil M. Guglielmo – Deputy Mayor for Budget and Financial Policy
Throughout his 21-year career with the City, Neil has worked closely with three different Mayoral administrations, the City Administrative Officer, Chief Legislative Analyst, and numerous council members. He has assisted them with policy and financial decisions impacting the Citywide budget – including the City’s responses to proposed secessions of the Harbor, Valley and Hollywood and most recently the development of the Mayor’s Proposed FY 2011-12 Budget. Appointed as Assistant General Manager in July 2011, Neil leads the Administration’s Bureau of the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) and is responsible for the development and implementation of LAHD’s $75 million annual operating budget – including the department’s Consolidated Plan application, oversight of the collection of more than $45 million in annual revenue, and the administration of Federal, State and other grants for housing development and housing services programs. Neil earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with honors from Loyola Marymount University. He was born and raised in San Pedro, California and currently lives in Rancho Palos Verdes with his wife and two children.
Rafael González - Chief Service Officer
Rafael leads the “We Serve LA” civic engagement initiative, which focuses on engaging more Angelenos in meaningful service activities across the City and utilizing volunteerism and service as a strategy to help solve critical local challenges. Rafael also serves as Director of Neighborhood & Community Services and is responsible for directing the Mayor’s community relations team, establishing community partnerships, working on immigrant integration, and promoting civic participation. For the past 23 years, Rafael has worked in the spheres of community organizing, civil rights and immigration advocacy, civic education, electoral campaigns, municipal government and national service. He graduated from Cal State University at Northridge in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano Studies/Social Studies. He is married and has two sons.
Brian Currey – Counsel to the Mayor
Brian assists Mayor Villaraigosa and his staff on the full spectrum of issues facing the City. He advises the Mayor on legal aspects of the Mayor’s job creation, environmental, education, and transportation agendas, as well as labor relations and contract negotiations, intergovernmental relations, claims management, and budget and fiscal matters. Brian came to City Hall with over 27 years of experience as a top litigator at one of Los Angeles’s premiere law firms, O’Melveny & Myers LLP. His practice focused on complex litigation, including the defense of class actions. Some of the high profile cases he worked on at O’Melveny include the Exxon Valdez criminal case, litigation arising from the Sacramento River chemical spill, and the Vioxx pharmaceutical products liability litigation. At several earlier points in his career, Brian served the City of Los Angeles on a pro bono basis, including assisting with the reform of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Teddy Davis - Press Secretary
Teddy is an attorney and Emmy Award-winning former ABC News journalist who worked in the American labor movement and now serves as Press Secretary for Mayor Villaraigosa. Shortly after joining the Mayor’s staff, Teddy helped formulate LA’s “We’re not waiting for Washington” jobs plan. The 5-point plan garnered national attention and was featured on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.” As ABC News’ Deputy Director of Political Coverage, Teddy was responsible for helping plan the network’s political coverage on “World News,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” and “This Week.” He also provided on-camera analysis to ABC’s digital cable station and wrote stories on the intersection of politics and policy for ABCNEWS.com. In 2010, he won an Emmy Award for team coverage of President Obama’s inauguration. In 1998, Teddy worked on Gray Davis’ come-from-behind win for Governor of California. Teddy later served as a Communications Aide and Special Assistant to the Governor. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and earned his law degree from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law.
Vicki Curry - Press Secretary
Vicki spent 14 years as a producer and reporter for KCET-TV, the former PBS station for Southern & Central California. During that time, she worked primarily in the News & Public Affairs Department, covering a range of issues for the local magazine programs Life & Times and SoCal Connected. She also produced a number of special projects, including live news events, a documentary about the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Bracing for a Quake: A Survival Guide and Fine Cut: KCET’s Festival of Student Film. Her work has garnered four Emmy Awards, six Golden Mike Awards, an Associated Press Award, and a Southern California Journalism Award. She was a Hong Kong Journalism Fellow at the East-West Center and in the American Council on Germany Journalist Program. She received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Barnard College, Columbia University.