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Big problems loom as Hahn is sworn in as new L.A. mayor

SHARE Big problems loom as Hahn is sworn in as new L.A. mayor

LOS ANGELES — After being sworn in as mayor of the nation's second-largest city, James K. Hahn promised to reform the city's scandal-tarnished police department, improve education and fix potholes.

"For those who did not support me, I will work every day to make sure you know that I am truly your mayor," the 51-year-old Democrat told a crowd of about 1,000 people Monday.

The Los Angeles Hahn inherits is a different place from the riot-scarred city millionaire Richard Riordan took over in 1993. The economy is better, new construction dots the city of 3.7 million, and a new city charter gives Hahn more power.

But no one expects Hahn to have an easy time: The San Fernando Valley and its 1.3 million residents threaten to secede from the city. A police corruption scandal festers. The schools are overcrowded. And the hard-fought mayoral campaign has left bitterness.

"It's a very promising time, but, boy, are the problems big," said Raphael Sonenshein, a political scientist at California State University at Fullerton.

Hahn had served as city attorney since 1985 and city controller before that. His late father, Kenneth Hahn, served a record 40 years as a county supervisor. His sister, Janice Hahn, was sworn in Saturday to the City Council.

Hahn was elected in a runoff June 5 against fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, who was seeking to become the city's first Hispanic mayor since 1872.

"Clearly, he won the support of the people and I, too, place my undivided support behind him and his administration," Villaraigosa said.

Riordan was prevented by term limits from seeking a third term.