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Zev Yaroslavsky announces he will step down at end of 2014 term, won't run for LA mayor

August 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky announced Thursday he will not run for mayor of Los Angeles, and he plans to retire from politics when his term with the County Board of Supervisors ends two years from now. Yaroslavsky's political career spans four decades.

When Yaroslavsky finishes his fourth and final term on the Board, he will have spent four decades in local politics. And for him, four decades is enough.

"I think it's important for people in any walk of life to know when to walk away," said Yaroslavsky, 63. He says the decision not to run for mayor was one he wrestled with for months.

"I can't do the things I want to do personally and be mayor. I don't think I have enough time in my life to do both," said Yaroslavsky.

The longtime politician, who has also served on the L.A. City Council, was considered by many to be a promising mayoral candidate. But in the end, he is choosing to leave politics when he is termed out from the Board Of Supervisors in 2014.

"I have other things I want to do," said Yaroslavsky. "I have other interests. I want to write. I want to teach."

Yaroslavsky says he's proud of the work he's done as a local leader, including his original support for the Orange Line busway, which is now one of the most popular mass transit options in all of L.A. County.

"It was widely opposed by just about everybody along the route," said Yaroslavsky. "But now everybody loves it and they'd kill me if we tried to dismantle it."

Yaroslasky was honored Thursday by a social service agency in Venice that serves the homeless. And his supporters say his legacy will live on.

"To have someone like the supervisor stand up and make public his commitment to the most vulnerable, to people who are dying on the streets, and to put resources to that effort has changed all of our work," said Va Lecia Adams, executive director of St. Joseph Center.

"He's a person that's empathetic, he's compassionate," said John Maceri, executive director of Ocean Park Community Center. "He has a very personal connection to this work."

"I'd rather go out on my own terms, healthy, while I have my health, and be able to do other things," said Yaroslavsky.

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