Villaraigosa’s last State of the City address today at 5pm

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Antonio Villaraigosa

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (AP Photo)

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to highlight his eight years in office — particularly in the areas of public safety, education, business, transportation and the environment — when he delivers his final “state of the city” address this afternoon.

Villaraigosa, who will pass the mayoral torch on July 1, got an early start celebrating his tenure last week, stressing during a news conference with Police Chief Charlie Beck that his efforts to increase the size of the police department resulted in the reduction of violent crime by 50 percent since he took office.

He also urged the next mayor to maintain the progress made in the past eight years — raising the the number of police officers from 9,284 in 2005 to more than 10,000, a theme likely to resurface in today’s address.

During last year’s state of the city address, Villaraigosa warned that Los Angeles would face a structural deficit of $427 million by 2014 without major changes, and he proposed adjustments to city employees’ pension and health plans. Debate over pensions continues to rage at City Hall, and the city’s financial state likely will be a major theme of Villaraigosa’s speech.

With the city’s budget still in the hole by more than $150 million for the upcoming 2013-2014 fiscal year, the mayor could use his speech to give a sneak peak of recommendations he will include in his proposed budget, which is due out later this month.

The speech, scheduled for 5 p.m., will be delivered at UCLA’s Royce Hall. It will be televised on CityView Channel 35 and streamed online at www.lacityview.org and the mayor’s home page at www.mayor.lacity.org.

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