Lyndon Johnson, no stranger to the pressures and controversies of public office once said, “When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.” This from a guy who was wrestling with the Vietnam War and conflicts over the Civil Rights Movement!
It’s not easy being a mayor, particularly of a sprawling metropolis like Los Angeles, where the issues a mayor grapples with can range from fixing potholes and making sure traffic lights work to concerns about gang violence and how to keep Hollywood moguls happy so they don’t take production jobs elsewhere.
But enough people still seem to want the job of being mayor of Los Angeles. L.A. is in the midst of a mayoral campaign, with five major candidates running for the office. But instead of talking to them about what they would do if elected, we thought we’d check with a person who’s already had the job and moved on. He’s James Hahn, who was mayor of L.A. between 2001 and 2005. During his years as mayor, Hahn confronted such issues as a campaign to break up the city, controversies over hiring a new police chief, and terrorism jitters in the aftermath of Setember 11th.
Compared to the job he had, Hahn now leads a fairly under-the-radar lifestyle as a Los Angeles County judge. I met him in his courthouse chambers to discuss the joys and frustrations of being mayor and what his life is like now. You can check it out here: