Mayor Tom Bradley is Using His Political Network to Persuade Young Voters to Vote

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As we prepare for his inauguration, city and county official and former City of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley has a message for the city’s young voters — “You may not think so,” he says, “but if you ever need a community to get behind you, Los Angeles is your community.”

That’s not his only point today, though. I caught up with him by asking him how he hopes to make the case that Los Angeles can be a place where working people, not just wealthy and super-rich, get to share in the city’s economic bounty.

It’s hard for anyone to talk passionately about what Los Angeles should look like when the election season is over, but Mayor Bradley is trying a different approach: using his experience, his connections, and his network to persuade young voters to get out and vote.

Los Angeles is the most recent and perhaps most visible example of Bradley’s approach to politics.

He was elected mayor in 2011 as a progressive and a pragmatist, an attempt to heal the deep rift between progressives and business interests at the municipal level. When things went well, he made friends, formed partnerships with community organizations, and started forging relationships with non-profit and activist groups to push ideas.

Today, he’s using his political network to tell a different tale: one where the city’s elite and its power business interests have become one.

“One of the things that motivated me when I decided to run as mayor was when I went out to the communities, [one of] the big things that you hear is, ‘You’re a mayor; you can’t talk like that,’ ” he says. “I don’t think that’s true. You can be a Democrat, you can be a liberal, you can be a progressive, you can be

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