A thank you note
November 25, 2014
This week marks the end of my 40-year career as an elected official in the City and County of Los Angeles.
Twenty years ago this month, I was sworn in as a member of the Board of Supervisors. On that day, I spoke of the huge challenges facing our county and of my promise to hit the ground running. I’d like to think that, as I pull up a seat today for my final board meeting, I kept pace with my aspirations and, more importantly, with your expectations.
I want you to know what a privilege it has been to serve you, both on the Board of Supervisors and as a member of the Los Angeles City Council for two decades. I’ve never taken these jobs or your trust for granted. I’ve always worked as hard on the day after an election as I did on the day before.
In recent weeks, I’ve been honored at a number of farewell events. But make no mistake, while I’ve been flattered by these gatherings, I’m under no illusion about where the real credit should go—to you, my constituents.
You entrusted me with elected office as a young man two years removed from graduate school, and you empowered me with a mandate to shake up the status quo and the forces that benefited from it. Throughout my career—whether I was confronting brutality in the Los Angeles Police Department, battling gender discrimination in the workplace or challenging the dysfunctional structures of government—you’ve had my back. My success was the direct result of your support.
Together, we’ve made lasting inroads across so many fronts, for so many people. With my superb and hardworking staff, we’ve created a widening mass transit infrastructure, preserved the Santa Monica Mountains for future generations, bolstered our public healthcare system, provided permanent supportive housing for the homeless, enhanced our cultural institutions and restored fiscal stability to our county. So I leave office satisfied that I have given my all on your behalf.
As for the future, I will continue to contribute my voice to the crucial issues that impact our region and its quality of life, albeit not from political office. I plan on writing a memoir, doing some teaching and being open-minded to whatever the future may hold. After so many years devoted to my work, I also plan on spending more time with my young grandchildren and, of course, with my wife and partner, Barbara, who did far more than her fair share of supporting my career and of raising our daughter and son.
On this Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any other, I’ll be reflecting on the incredible joys and rewards of my life. I take with me so many fond memories of the work we’ve accomplished together to make this a better city and county.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.