Monday 30 July 2012

Richard J. Riordan

In less than a month, I will be returning to Los Angeles. In honor (?) of that, I’m going to do some posts about Dicks with connections to the City of Angels.

First up is Richard J. Riordan, whose name I know because it graces the Central Library, the flagship of the Los Angeles Public Library system. After googling the guy, it turns out he’s still alive (age 82) and was mayor of LA from 1993 to 2001. I kind of feel like a loser for not knowing who the guy was, but I’m not a native Angelino, so I’ll use that as an excuse.

Richard Riordan is a Republican (apparently, he was the first Republican mayor of LA in thirty years). Previously he was a lawyer and an investor, and he became rich. In 1981 he founded The Riordan Foundation, which promotes literacy for children (originally just reading but since expanded to include both reading and computer literacy) and leadership skills in young adults. I’m assuming Richard’s efforts to promote reading are a large reason why his name is now emblazoned on the Central Library.

I’m not going to delve much into Riordan’s time as mayor of LA. Like all mayors, he made some missteps and had some successes. He was mayor when the Metro Red Line subway was built; even though the project went massively over budget, he still promoted it and kept it alive. I’m glad about that; I’ve been on the Red Line, and it’s pretty nice. It takes you to Hollywood, and I would recommend that all tourists use the Red Line (get off at Hollywood and Vine) to visit Hollywood. The area is a massive, cheesy tourist trap with expensive parking; if you take the Red Line, you’re saving yourself some money and hassle.

From 2003 to 2005, Richard was the California Secretary of Education (appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger). Richard has since supported various candidates in Los Angeles elections, but I imagine his days of hard-core politics are over.

And now, the main point of this post: pictures of the Richard J. Riordan Central Library. It may not be the New York Public Library, but it’s a nice library all the same.

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