Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley spoke with the Monitor about his five terms in office.
* On term limits for mayor and city council, adopted in November:
"I think term limits nationally, at state and local levels, will result in some problems for government agencies. When it takes you two years just to find the doors in City Hall, it makes it difficult to do your job.
"When a city has term limits, constituencies are denied the rise of their representatives through the power structure to positions of authority."
* On "weak mayor" provisions in the L.A. city charter:
"Technically, we have a strong council/weak mayor setup that at times creates a bit of a nuisance in trying to push through a particular program. It would be nice to have had the powers of mayors in other large cities ... I might have accomplished more without it, but overall I have been able to live with it comfortably."
* On professional gains for minorities and women:
"Prior to my election, this was a hostile business environment for blacks, Asians, Hispanics, women. We changed all that [by] opening up the bidding and requirements for contracts....
"In government, there were hardly any women and certainly no minorities heading departments. They now exert influence in every area of the city. The changes are permanent, and one of my proudest achievements."
* On his greatest strength as a politician:
"Being able to use my influence, credibility, and respect I've earned worldwide to help sell the message of L.A. and to encourage investments, bring corporations and jobs to the city. And, finally, to help people learn to live together without constant friction and tension."
* On his decision to leave office and the announcement of the retirement of other black mayors, Coleman Young of Detroit, Maynard Jackson of Atlanta.
"There is no relation, no trend. There will be plenty available to take our places."