There was a gathering under the Main Street overhang of City Hall East on Thursday to rename the building for former mayor James K. Hahn. He had worked in the building while city controller and city attorney, before he was elected mayor in 2001. Old friends and former aides came to the ceremony, along with Hahn and his sister, Rep. Janice Hahn. Mayor Eric Garcetti's staff posted some pictures to Facebook.
The ceremony had the feel of a class reunion, Rick Orlov noted. “The Los Angeles of today stands on the shoulders of Mayor Hahn’s work to improve public safety and keep our city whole,” Garcetti said. “Instead of self-interest, he put our city’s best interests first. He is a public servant in the truest sense.” Ex-mayor Hahn, 64, is now a Superior Court traffic judge.
Hahn was remembered as the mayor who replaced LAPD chief Bernard Parks with William Bratton and who saved the city from losing the San Fernando Valley through secession. “It’s kind of like Tom Sawyer watching his own funeral,” Hahn said in his remarks. “I have to say it is nice to hear all these things when you’re alive.”
In an op-ed yesterday in the LA Times, former police commission president Rick Caruso praised Hahn's legacy. "In a city of big egos and bigger-than-life politicians, the accomplishments of a courageous and hardworking mayor who avoided the limelight tend to get lost," Caruso wrote. "When Hahn took office, the LAPD was in crisis. After nearly a decade of decline, violent crime in the city was again rising. Entire LAPD training classes had to be canceled because they didn't draw enough recruits, and demoralized officers were leaving the force in droves. The specter of the 1992 civil unrest and subsequent Rampart scandal continued to weigh on the department, and by 2002 an astounding 93% of LAPD officers said they had “no confidence” in the LAPD's leadership."
It's the major second building in the downtown civic center named for a Hahn. The county Board of Supervisors meet in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, named for Judge Hahn's late father, a supervisor for 40 years and former member of the LA City Council.