James Hahn

James Hahn

name = James Kenneth Hahn

width = 170px
height = 200px
caption =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1950|7|3|mf=y
birth_place = Los Angeles, California
death_date =
death_place =
residence = Los Angeles, California
office = 40th Mayor of Los Angeles
term_start = 2001
term_end = 2005
predecessor = Richard Riordan
successor = Antonio Villaraigosa
party = Democratic
religion = Church of Christ
spouse =
children =
website =

James Kenneth "Jim" Hahn (born July 3, 1950) is an American politician from the Democratic Party. He was the Deputy City Attorney (1975-1979), City Controller (1981-1985), City Attorney (1985-2001) and Mayor of Los Angeles, California (2001-2005). He did not win a second term in the 2005 mayoral election. He is the son of the late Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, who was known as an ardent supporter of civil rights.

Early life

James Hahn was born on July 3, 1950 in Los Angeles, and raised in the Morningside Park district of Inglewood near South Los Angeles. Hahn attended Manchester Avenue Elementary School, Daniel Freeman Elementary School, Horace Mann Junior High School, and Lutheran High School.

He graduated from the Los Angeles campus of Pepperdine University in California magna cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in English and a minor in journalism in 1972. He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 1975. In 1994, he was selected as the School of Law's Distinguished Alumnus. While at Seaver College, he assisted in the development of a paralegal program for the Family Law Center of the Legal Aid Society and during law school, he clerked for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Upon graduation in 1975 until 1979, Hahn worked as a prosecutor and deputy city attorney in the office of the City Attorney. From 1979-1981, he was in private practice with long time friend Robert Horner.

City Controller

In 1981 he was elected the fifth and youngest City Controller of Los Angeles and served until 1985. As City Controller, his job was to be the fiscal watchdog for the residents of Los Angeles and to write the checks for city employees. Currently, the City Controller has the added responsibility of auditing city departments; while Hahn was in office, the Controller did not yet have that authority. Many believe that Hahn was largely elected due to the help of his father, legendary county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. James Hahn was preceded by Ira Reiner and succeeded by Rick Tuttle.

City Attorney

Hahn went on to serve a record 16 years, 1985-2001, as Los Angeles City Attorney. With 358 attorneys, and a support staff of 346, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office is one of the largest municipal law offices in the nation and has branch offices in 21 locations citywide.

As City Attorney, Hahn pioneered the use of gang injunctions to rid LA's neighborhoods of gang activity. He played a role in crafting state legislation regarding gang enforcement by writing the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act.

He went after both the gun and tobacco industries for selling to minors and deceptive marketing, among other charges. More specifically, Hahn led the litigation to stop the Joe Camel ad campaign and reached a settlement of 312 million dollars for the city. He then created the Tobacco Enforcement Project to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors.

Hahn created the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program to target every day crimes and eyesores to promote quality of life throughout the city.

As City Attorney, Jim Hahn created a program called Kid Watch LA to create safe passages for LA youth in their journey to and from their local school.

He was also tough on housing enforcement, sentencing slumlords to live under house arrest in their own run-down properties, pay large fines, and go to jail.

He re-established a Domestic Violence Unit and personally sponsored over 30 pieces of relevant legislation, ensuring that California has tough domestic violence laws.

Special units in the office included AIDS/HIV Discrimination, Environmental Protection, Housing Enforcement, Consumer Protection, Special Enforcement, and Governmental Law and Enforcement. He also managed a Dispute Resolution Program. Aside from the special units, the office was divided into a criminal branch and a civil branch. Hahn required all of his attorneys to receive ethnic and religious tolerance training from the Museum of Tolerance.


James Hahn was elected in 2001 to serve as the 40th mayor of Los Angeles. He lost his re-election bid in 2005.

Homeland Security and Public Safety

Hahn recognized failing leadership at the Los Angeles Police Department, and in turn rejected Bernard Parks for a second term as Police Chief. He then appointed former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton to the position. Together with Bratton, he reinstated the community policing program, implemented a flexible work week schedule and the COMPSTAT system, and initiated a comprehensive recruitment and retention campaign. The results were impressive; morale significantly rose in the department and there was the first increase in the ranks in ten years. In addition, all areas of crime dropped steadily and Los Angeles is now in its fifth year of continued crime reductions, making it the second safest large city in the United States. He also ensured for the first time in the city's history that there be at least one ambulance at every fire station. He convened a Homeland Security Cabinet in his office, hosted an annual Homeland Security summit, coordinated Los Angeles' Operation Archangel to protect its infrastructure, and lobbied for state and federal public safety grants. After September 11, the United States Conference of Mayors appointed him to serve as Chair of its Aviation Security Task Force. For these combined efforts, Hahn was endorsed in his re-election campaign by the Police Protective League and United Firefighters of Los Angeles.

Housing, Economic Development, and Homelessness

Hahn created a $100 million housing trust fund which constructed thousands of units of affordable housing throughout the city and expanded the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance to convert dilapidated buildings into mixed use residential properties. He identified the funding to keep the city's homeless shelters open year round and met with civic leaders across the county to establish a blue ribbon commission called Bring LA Home to end homelessness in Los Angeles County within a decade. He also worked with Councilmembers Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti to initiate and sign into law over six business tax reforms to make Los Angeles more equitable with its neighboring jurisdictions and attract new business. His Office of Housing, Homelessness, and Economic Development promoted small businesses, women and minority owned businesses, and brought in over ten billion dollars in private construction.

While Mayor, Hahn created the Mayor's Office of International Trade and led two trade trips, one to Asia and one to Mexico.

In his trip to Asia, Mayor Hahn met with South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, Beijing Mayor Liu Qi and Shanghai Mayor Chen Liang Yu. Mayor Hahn received the medal of honorary citizenship from Mayor of Seoul Lee Myung-bak at Seoul City Hall. In Beijing, Hahn established an agreement concerning the 2008 Olympics, creating trade offices in both cities, designating Los Angeles as gateway to Beijing and allowing Los Angeles firms to be hired to oversee the renovation of the Beijing airport. Mayor Hahn, working with the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, launched a program in Japan called "See My LA" with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Dodger Kazuhisa Ishii. In Korea, he partnered with Korean soccer star Hong Myung-bo to encourage Koreans to come to Los Angeles to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Koreans in Los Angeles. Both campaigns were aimed to increase tourism from Japan and Korea. In addition, Hahn established an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association to exchange rare and exotic animals to be displayed at the Los Angeles Zoo. To improve regional air service in LA, Hahn convinced EVA airlines to fly out of Ontario International Airport. The most prominent agreement was with the Port of LA and the Ports of Beijing and Shanghai, expanding service to the Port of Los Angeles, ensuring that Asian cargo ships are plugged into natural power, and sharing technology and resources between the ports.

In Mexico, Hahn received an airport security briefing at Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport and held meetings with Mexican business and airlines executives and Mexican President Vicente Fox. As a result of his Mexico trip, AeroMexico airlines decided to fly out of Ontario International Airport, providing a more regional approach to air service in the Los Angeles area. In addition, he secured a deal with Grupo Gigante to open five of their stores in Los Angeles to improve the economy. He also set up a Mexico Trade Desk within the Mayor’s Office of International Trade to increase opportunities.

Education, Workforce Development, Youth, and Families

Hahn partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District to expedite the construction of new campuses to relieve overcrowding, while contracting the construction to Los Angeles firms. He also worked to create joint-use partnerships with the district so that the schools become the central focus of their respective neighborhoods. He expanded the after school program for elementary school students, LA's Best, to an additional 5,500 students, bringing the total to more than 20,000 served, and supported the middle school after school program LA's Bridges. He created the Literacy @ Work program to train LA's workforce, and the Free Cash for College Program to place more low income high school seniors in colleges and universities nationwide. In 2002 he launched the One City One Book initiative One Book, One City LA, by picking Fahrenheit 451 as the book and kicking off the program with a news conference with the book's author, Ray Bradbury. [Citation
last = Gold
first = Matea
publication-date = 2002-03-15
title = To Ignite Interest in Books, L.A. Is Urged to Read 'Fahrenheit 451'
periodical = Los Angeles Times
pages = B3
issn = 04583035
] Each of Hahn's budgets expanded LA's infrastructure of parks and libraries, while simultaneously increasing their hours of operation, and included the funds to manage a summer jobs program for city youth.

Energy and the Environment

Hahn issued an executive order to require that 17% of all of Los Angeles's energy come from "natural" sources by 2017. He began to convert the city's fleet of vehicles to hybrids and prevented the city from investing in a dirty coal plant in Utah. At the Port of Los Angeles, he created the Alternative Maritime Power Program to enable large cruise and cargo ships to plug into clean power while docked at the port, and pledged to make Los Angeles a landfill free city by 2006.


His Traffic Safety and Congestional Relief Plan made improvements to the 100 worst intersections in the city and his Street Smart Program made improvements to 35 of the busiest thoroughfares. As part of his duties as mayor, Hahn was a member of the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and advocated for better public transportation for the county.

City Services and Community Engagement

He also led mayors statewide in negotiating a successful ballot proposition with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which prevented the Sacramento legislature from stealing local municipalities' tax dollars to balance their budget.

Hahn's greatest legacy, perhaps, as Mayor was his leadership of the successful campaigns to defeat secession in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, and San Pedro, effectively keeping the city together. He then created a ten point program called Teamwork LA to improve city services and constituent affairs, so as not to anger residents ever again to the point where they would want to secede. Among other objectives, it created a one stop shop neighborhood city hall in the seven major geographical areas of the city, employed a Neighborhood Area director in his office to manage each of the areas, and created the city's 24/7 non emergency phone line 311, "your one call to City Hall". He also implemented priority based budgeting to include neighborhood councils in the budget process. When he became Mayor, there were zero neighborhood councils; when he left four years later, there were over 80. He provided each council with $50,000 for any purpose and an additional $100,000 for street and sidewalk improvements. With the assistance of Councilman Eric Garcetti, he created the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to engage immigrants in civic life.


While he achieved the aforementioned successes, he also had several unsuccessful initiatives. He was unable to deliver on his promise to add 1000 police officers to the Los Angeles Police Department, as the plan was turned down several times by the City Council. Hahn's lack of finesse in handling the ouster of Parks also alienated him from Los Angeles' African-American community which still held Parks in high regard; that community had helped to propel Hahn to victory in the 2001 mayoral election. In addition, many criticized him for not playing a more significant role in helping to solve the city's transportation problems; he passed his turn to chair the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors. There were also ethics questions surrounding his administration, including pay to play allegations; no evidence has been found linked to him, but investigations are still ongoing. In addition, he was criticized for his lack of charisma and poor delivery of speeches. This was especially highlighted in his unsuccessful re-election campaign against the highly charismatic and energetic current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

End of Term

On June 28, 2005, shortly before the inauguration of his successor, Hahn was honored in the John Ferraro Council Chambers of City Hall by the City Council and Fire Department for 24 years of elected public service.

Family and Faith

Hahn is from a family of public servants. His father, Kenneth Hahn, served as an LA City Councilman and as an LA County Supervisor for a record 40 years. Hahn's uncle, Gordon Hahn, was a state assemblyman and an LA City Councilman and another uncle, John Hahn, was assistant county clerk. His cousin, Dale Hahn, is a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County. His sister, Janice Hahn, was reelected in 2005 as an LA City Councilwoman for the 15th District.

Hahn is a member of the Redondo Beach Church of Christ.

Hahn lives in the Los Angeles community of San Pedro with his two children Karina Natalie and Jackson Kenneth; he was formerly married to Monica Hahn and Joni Hawley.

Political career

Hahn served as a deputy city attorney in the City Attorney's office from 1975-1979 and was in private practice from 1979-1981. From 1981-1985, he served as the City Controller of Los Angeles and later served as City Attorney from 1985-2001 before defeating former State Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, a fellow Democrat, by 9% in the 2001 mayoral election to become the 40th mayor of the city of Los Angeles.

Hahn sought a second term as mayor, with the runoff election being held on May 17, 2005, but he was defeated in the runoff by challenger Antonio Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa had been a union organizer, State Assemblyman and Speaker of the State Assembly, and was then a Los Angeles City Councilman. Hahn had defeated him to become Mayor four years earlier in the 2001 election.

In the March 8, 2005 general election, Hahn placed second to Villaraigosa; placing ahead of former Speaker of the Assembly Bob Hertzberg, Councilman Bernard Parks, State Senator Richard Alarcon, and about seven lesser known challengers. As the top two vote getters, Villaraigosa and Hahn proceeded to the runoff election held on May 17, 2005. In that election, Hahn lost to Villaraigosa.

Post-mayoral career

After leaving office, Hahn accepted the position of a managing director and partner at the firm Chadwick Saylor & Company, which has offices in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

On October 19, 2005, Hahn took part in a discussion entitled "The State of Los Angeles", sponsored by a non-profit organization called "Days of Dialogue". The other panelists were former Mayor Richard Riordan and current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the only other living mayors of the city of Los Angeles. "Days of Dialogue" was founded after the notorious O.J. Simpson trial in order to encourage discussions on key issues in the Los Angeles region. It is currently chaired by California State Assemblyman and former Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

On Monday, December 12, 2005, Hahn delivered a eulogy at the funeral of long time city councilman Marvin Braude. On January 7, 2006, Hahn attended and spoke at a memorial service at Los Angeles City Hall and at a private residence for former County Federation of Labor leader Bill Robertson. Since leaving office, he has also attended a number of other events of significance.

On March 1, 2006, it was announced that through Chadwick Saylor & Company, Hahn will become CEO of Los Angeles Development Partners, L.P. (LADP). The partnership consists of an $150 million fund managed by Chadwick Saylor & Company with numerous investors. Its goal is to develop affordable housing and other economic development projects around transit lines, including the Metrolink and Metro Rail. The projects will be completed by unionists. Hahn will be in charge of all of the operations of the entire fund. Hahn left the company at the beginning of 2008, according to trade publication Real Estate Alert. The fund's status is unclear.

On September 20, 2006, more than a year after leaving office, a Steve Lopez column ran in the Los Angeles Times explaining Hahn's new life in the private sector. Hahn said that he is now as happy as ever and for the first time in decades, can truly enjoy his city. He gets to spend more time with his son and daughter and has been in a steady relationship with a woman for over a year. He also enjoys his new work getting unions to invest money in local projects around transit lines to relieve traffic and smog [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez20sep20,1,1731509.column?coll=la-headlines-california] .

On November 8, 2007, James Hahn's official portrait was displayed in the Hall of Mayors Portrait Gallery on the 26th floor of City Hall. The event was accompanied by ceremonies on the 26th floor as well as before the City Council [http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_7371607] .

Life highlights

*Pepperdine University, B.A. English (minor- Journalism), 1972
*Pepperdine University School of Law, J.D., 1975
*Deputy City Attorney, Los Angeles City Attorney, 1975-1979
*Private Practice (with Robert Horner), 1979-1981
*Los Angeles City Controller, 1981-1985
*Los Angeles City Attorney, 1985-2001
*Mayor of Los Angeles, 2001-2005
*Managing Director, Chadwick Saylor & Company, 2005-2008
*CEO, Los Angeles Development Partners, 2006-current

ee also

*Los Angeles mayoral election, 2001
*Los Angeles mayoral election, 2005

External links

* [http://digilib.library.ucla.edu/campaign/web/2001_997_003/index.htm Hahn for Mayor 2001]
* [http://digilib.library.ucla.edu/campaign/web/2005_998_001/index.html Hahn for Mayor 2005]
* [http://chadwicksaylor.com/frameset_nav.htm?company,/company/people/people_nav.asp,/company/people/people_main.asp?teamNBR=%201 Chadwick Saylor & Company] James Hahn, Managing Director
* [http://www.smartvoter.org/2001/04/10/ca/la/vote/hahn_jk/ League of Women Voters of California, 2001 Election]
* [http://www.smartvoter.org/2005/05/17/ca/la/vote/hahn_jk/ League of Women Voters of California, 2005 Election]


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