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Los Angeles Inaugurates Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

A Coronation Fit for Fledgling Political Royalty


Thank you, Thank you. Gracias a todos.

Fellow Angelenos, members of the City Council, City Controller Chick, City Attorney Delgadillo, Mayor Hahn, Mayor Riordan, Superintendent Romer, Vice President Gore, Governor Schwarzenegger, representatives of the Congress and the California Legislature, excuse me. (booing in background). Angelenos, excuse me. (booing in background) There will be civility today (cheering in background).

Fellow mayors, county leaders, members of the consular corps, distinguished guests.

Today is a day for thanks. I want to thank all of you.

What a great country this is!

And what a great city this is!

Los Angeles has always led the way. You've always focused on what really matters.

You've always disproved the doubters. When others said it couldn't be done, you elected the first African-American mayor of a leading American city. And, believe me, early in our campaign, there were those who said it wasn't time for a Latino mayor.

The faith you have placed in me makes me so proud to be an Angeleno today.

And I promise you, I will be a mayor for all the people. So thank you, Los Angeles. I want to thank my wife Corina, my four children, Marisela, Prisila, Antonio and Natalia Fe. With these five, public service is a family affair, and I can't adequately express how much I appreciate their support and their sacrifices — and they have all made sacrifices. I love you each. I love you all.

I want to thank Mayor James Hahn. Mayor Hahn, thank you for your decades of service to Los Angeles and for the graciousness and professionalism that both you and your staff have exhibited throughout these transition weeks. Thank you, Mayor Hahn. We wish you well.

Today, before God, family and community, I placed my hand on the Bible and took an oath to faithfully discharge the duties of the Office of Mayor. Fellow Angelenos, I am humbled by the support and trust that you have placed in me, and I will do my utmost each and every day to affirm that trust.

Honoring this covenant with the people of Los Angeles will be the heartbeat of my administration. It will guide every decision we make and every action we take. I want you to know that I'll be a mayor who takes responsibility and leads by example. I'll work as hard as you do every single day.

But the ceremony that we mark here today is far bigger than any single person. And it's about much more than the oath of one man. It's about an oath we all must swear:

Today, we come together. One city. Angelenos all.

We come together not just to conduct an orderly transfer of power. We come here to transcend our differences, to meet our collective challenges, and to define our mutual dreams, to take a stock of who we are and what we stand for, to remember where we came from, and to decide where we need to go.

¡Que lindo es este pais!

Yo soy prueba de que los estados unidos es un pais de oportunidades y libertad.

¿En que otro pais del mundo podria yo estar frente a ustedes como el alcalde de una gran ciudad?

Los invito que sueñen conmigo.

I will never forget where I came from. It may be a short way from City Terrace to City Hall, but fellow Angelenos, we all know what a vast distance it truly is. It's a distance that can't be measured in miles or calculated in terms of the achievements of one person.

I want to pay tribute today to all those who began that journey before us, and on whose shoulders we stand. I want to thank those who walked with us, side by side, along the road. And I want to remember, with deep gratitude and love, the one person who set me on my way.

I am here today because of the indomitable spirit and the boundless faith of my mother, Natalia Delgado. A woman who struggled as a single mom, who sometimes worked two jobs to put her kids through college. A woman who went through unspeakable circumstances as a victim of domestic violence and a foster child in a home plagued by alcoholism. A woman who suffered more than her shares of life's indignities, but who never, never, surrendered her dignity.

I owe everything I have and I am to her.

But my mother's story is a classic L.A. story. Not the stuff of scripts or movie fantasy. A true story, like those of countless Angelenos, past and present. A story of working hard, of loving your kids, of having a clear picture of a better future in your mind's eye and driving for it with a sense of ferocious purpose.

Stories like my mother's are all around us, every day. We see them in the faces of people who clean homes and offices. Who work the night shifts and who empty bedpans. We see them in the faces of people who sweep the floors and load the freight. We see them in South Los Angeles and East L.A. and in the Valley and at the beaches. And even though we live in the entertainment capital of the world, it's not hard to see who the real stars are.

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