Antonio Villaraigosa Will Solve Poverty

LA Times

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who leads a city where thousands of working families live in poverty, believes he can help the poor by building affordable housing, strengthening job training and reforming the much-maligned public schools ? ideas that have been tried elsewhere with limited success.

Today, his steps and those advanced in other cities will be on the table when mayors from across the nation converge on Los Angeles to strategize about a pernicious problem that defies a quick fix.

Although local government leaders say they can’t do much about the underlying causes of poverty ? such as job cuts and soaring home prices ? economists, labor organizers, affordable-housing advocates and others say cities have a number of tools that can help.

At the very least, the gathering of mayors can cast national attention on a problem that, by many measures, is growing worse.

As head of a poverty task force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Villaraigosa scheduled today’s session to highlight what researchers see as a widening gap between rich and poor ? one that is pronounced in places populated by vast numbers of [illegal] immigrants with limited education and minimal job skills.

‘Our goal as mayors is to raise this issue around urban poverty to create a national debate about what we need to do,’ Villaraigosa said. ‘We’ve got to strengthen and grow the middle class.’

By one estimate, 1.4 million of Los Angeles’ 3.8 million residents are ‘working poor,’ a category that would include a family of two adults and two children earning $38,000 a year or less.

Experts who study poverty recommend a range of solutions, some of them controversial.

Officials could crack down on the so-called informal economy, the cash-only sector that siphons tax income from municipal coffers and leaves workers without job protections. In Los Angeles, that informal sector is growing much faster than the legitimate economy, experts say.

More than 1 million skilled workers left L.A. County in the ’90s, says Dan Flaming, a former county demographer who runs the Economic Roundtable, a nonpartisan research group.

In their place came an influx of [illegal] immigrants, largely from Mexico and Central America, many without high school educations.

Now [illegal] immigrants outnumber the native born in prime working-age populations in L.A. The numbers helped drive California’s poverty rate above the national average, straining housing, education and healthcare at a time when federal support was shrinking, said Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill.

2 Responses to “Antonio Villaraigosa Will Solve Poverty”

  1. David Says:

    I can solve the poverty problem….send the illegals home!

  2. Jim Says:

    Poverty is a mexico problems dumped on the US side of the border to deal with. L.A. mayor Requonquista knows it. His solutions of poverty is just a cover-up to support all these illigal alliens, his mexican socialism and his mexico de facto.

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