AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “Growth is going to happen, make no mistake about it,” Villaraigosa said. “We have to prepare for it. We have to grow smart. “I did not run for this job to just maintain the status quo. I ran for this job because I want this to be the city that it can be – a city of destiny.” The mayor has vowed to create a $100 million trust fund for affordable housing, and asked business leaders to support a $1 billion bond issue that would help finance the program. “We need to have smart growth, but we also have to change our way of thinking,” Villaraigosa said. “A lot of us grew up with the idea of a three-bedroom house with large backyards and front lots. We have to recognize that is not going to be possible. “We have to look at other cities – New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston. We need to have more mixed-use development along transit corridors. UNIVERSAL CITY – Calling the San Fernando Valley the “backbone” of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa challenged its business leaders on Thursday to support his efforts to reform the city’s public schools and boost its economy. In his first “State of the Valley” address, Villaraigosa told about 400 members of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association that they can help develop policies that will attract good-paying jobs to broaden the middle class. “I didn’t need a political consultant to tell me I needed to spend a lot of time in the Valley during my campaign,” Villaraigosa said at VICA’s annual luncheon. “I did it because the San Fernando Valley is the backbone of this city. It is 40 percent of the population but, more importantly, it is 60 percent of the middle class.” The mayor warned that the dream and promise of the city could be threatened unless government, civic and business communities join forces. “We are going to start this in downtown, but we want to work with you to bring it throughout the city,” he said, citing the NoHo Arts District as a potential venue. “I think North Hollywood can become a model for the city, for the nation, on smart growth,” Villaraigosa said. He also said he is encouraging pension officials to review the city’s investments and determine whether they could provide capital to start and expand local businesses, taking advantage of new developments in the biomedical, biotechnical and computer industries. And Villaraigosa urged the business leaders to support his escalating efforts to reform Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s second-largest school district. “This will not be a city you want to live in unless we can make our schools work,” Villaraigosa said. “We will be a great city only if we have a great school system. Public schools have been what has made this country successful. Look at me. I was a high school dropout and public schools gave me a second chance. Look at where I am now.” Former LAUSD board member Roberta Weintraub, who now operates a charter school, said she initially opposed the mayor’s education reform proposals, but has since changed her mind. “As I see what is going on in the district and the difficulty there is to work with them, I think he is on to something,” Weintraub said. Bruce Ackerman of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley said Villaraigosa impressed him and others at the gathering. “What he’s doing so far is showing leadership,” Ackerman said. “You might not agree with him on everything, but you agree that he is trying to accomplish something.” Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!