By JILL ROSENFELD and
In his 20 years as mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley played a major role in shaping the local business community that exists today. While Bradley experienced his share of disappointments, including a vision for a citywide subway system that has failed to materialize, he will be remembered for helping establish the city as a world business center especially in the expansion of the port, Los Angeles International Airport and the growth of downtown.
The Business Journal contacted several veteran L.A. business leaders to get their views on how Bradley affected the local business community and the legacy he has left behind.
Eli Broad, Chairman, Sun America Inc.
He was instrumental in pulling together diverse factions. He made Los Angeles a world-class model for the modern city. He was able to work with all factions of business, community, politics and labor, and brought us all together. He was always underrated by people. He bridged the worlds of commerce. He was able to create jobs, attract industry and get the business community together with politicians.
He will go down in history as one of the great mayors in the world.
Warren Christopher, Senior Partner, O'Melveny & Myers LLP (Former U.S. Secretary of State)
Tom Bradley had a natural dignity about him that gave people a sense of confidence and made it a pleasure to be in his presence.
Maureen Kindel, Principal, Rose & Kindel
Tom Bradley was elected with very little support in the downtown business community. He put together a coalition of blacks and liberals, Jewish community homeowner groups.
But in the white Anglo-Saxon establishment, only Warren Christopher and Phil Hawley helped him defeat (Sam) Yorty. So when he was elected mayor, he and his administration devised a strategy to reach out to the business community. At the beginning the relationship was tentative, and born out of the business establishment's need to be friendly with the mayor. It wasn't very long before the business community readily identified with this tall, graceful, patrician man.
He did implement two cutting-edge policies that were not really well-received by the business community. Those were the inclusion of women and minority-owned firms in city contracts, and the city's anti-Apartheid ordinance. When he appointed me as president to the board of Public Works in 1979, it was the first appointment ever of a woman to that board.
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