THE BLOG

Welcome to the Neighborhood

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Welcome to Los Angeles! It's great that the Huffington Post's
LA blog has arrived. I know that many of your readers and
contributors have been in Southern California all along, and HuffPost
itself has strong local ties.

But let's face it: up to now, much of the focus of Huffington
Post's innovative online experiment in new journalism and opinion
has been eastward and outward, far beyond L.A., looking at events in
Washington, Wall Street and beyond.

You've been pondering sweeping national and international issues such
as last year's elections, health care reform, the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, financial services re-regulation, and fixing our economy.
And when Los Angeles does get national attention, it's often because
of celebrity scandal, our prowess at political fundraising, or both.

But the truth is that our City of Angeles is so much more than a
company town or a candidate's ATM. With 4 million people living in
469 square miles, we're diverse and complicated, innovative and
storied. We could be considered a modern city-state and our collective
successes or failures represent the promise or peril of our nation.

My job on the Los Angeles City Council has given me the opportunity to
meet so many Angelenos, to learn about their lives, and to partner with
them to make this a better place. My hope is that this new blog will be
a forum where I can share some of their stories and ideas with readers
around the country who may find these experiences interesting or useful.

Like public servants in other American cities, we in Los Angeles have
spent the past year or so focused on the street-level policy development
and implementation that addresses the needs of our residents suffering
through the economic recession. From providing help for residents
facing foreclosure to recruiting green businesses that will create good
local jobs, our city is directly assisting the people, organizations,
and businesses that are part of our national recovery.

In addition, we are struggling with the difficulties of balancing our
own budget and providing the same level of neighborhood services --
public safety, trash pick-up, street repair -- that our residents
expect. Earlier this year, city workers including librarians, janitors,
recreation facility managers, and street pavers agreed to major
concessions to help close a $400 million budget gap.

In future posts, I'll write more about some of these economic and
other challenges we're facing -- the trends and impacts we're seeing,
the dialogue we're having, and the initiatives we're implementing
and their outcomes. I'm also looking forward to sharing stories about
the triumphs and everyday life in this city that I've always been
proud to call my home.

So, welcome to the neighborhood, HuffPost. We're glad you're here.