Mayor Lara L. Blakely

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Lara Larramendi Blakely was elected Mayor of Monrovia, on March 6, 2001, bringing with her unsurpassed energy, integrity and nearly two decades of government experience, regionally, statewide and nationally.  Pasadena Star–News has this to say about her:  “Blakely is a tireless worker for Monrovians…she approaches the job with passion.  Blakely is an incredible combination of civic activist, technocrat and humanist, with deep experience in the key municipal task of creating more affordable housing…her ability to work with everyone in the political spectrum is a model for local officeholders.” ”  

Blakely served as a Monrovia Community Services Commissioner from 1985 to 1988.  As commissioner, she helped found and chaired the Monrovia Child Care Task Force.  Her efforts led to zoning changes and increases in family day care home and child care spaces in Monrovia.  Blakely has advocated for children and families for more than 25 years.  Her interest in building a better future for working families surfaced in her UCLA graduate thesis titled “Female Heads of Household and Economic Survival”, for which she did extensive research that culminated in an Organizational Proposal for Employment Training Services for Low Income Female Heads of Households. 

In 1988, Blakely was unanimously appointed to the City Council to complete the un-expired council term of Bob Bartlett upon his election as Mayor.  She was then elected to a 4-year term in 1990 and resoundingly re-elected in 1994.   Blakely served as Mayor Pro Tem (92-99 and 97-99), and was unopposed for re-election in 1999. 

Mayor Blakely’s commitment to Monrovia’s economic development is unmistakable.  Monrovia is the leading city per capita in sales tax generation in the San Gabriel Valley, edging larger cities like Pasadena.  Monrovia’s redevelopment projects award winning, earning the All America City Award designation in 1995 and most recently the California Redevelopment Agency Project of the Year (2001).              

In 1992, Mayor Blakely served as a California State Assembly Speaker appointee to the Cost Control Performance Advisory Committee of the State Cost Control Commission. Mayor Blakely also served as Trustee to the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito Abatement District. 

            Blakely looked to the League of California Cities for involvement and leadership opportunities immediately upon appointment to the Monrovia city council in 1988.  She became a member of the Housing, Community and Economic Development Policy Committee and later chaired the committee from 1991-1994.  Having entered the leadership structure of the California League, she then chaired the Immigration Task Force in 1994, a critical time for the state of California in the wake of an anti-immigration bill that passed.  In 1995, she became involved with the Environmental Quality Policy Committee, on which she has continued to be a member.  In 1994, Mayor Blakely became a member of the Board of Directors, where she served until 2000 and played a role on the Board’s Legislative Committee and served as the League’s representative to a number of national, state and local committees including the NLC CED Policy and Steering Committee, the Joint Committee on Youth Policy, the California Affordable Housing Partnership Project, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Special Task Force for Countywide Bicycle Policy.   

Mayor Blakely was elected to the National League of Cities Board of Directors to a 2-year term in December 1994.  In her first year, she was appointed to a leadership position as Board Liaison to the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Steering Committee and the Board’s Legislative and Policy Committee.  In her second year, she was appointed chair of the Board's Legislative and Policy Committee.  Blakely currently serves on the Advisory Council and has been the Council's liaison to the EENR Policy Committee and the Board’s Legislative & Policy Committee.  In addition, she has served on the advisory committee of the City Halls and Community Organizations project, the Board's Nominating Committee and the Resolutions Committee.   

Mayor Blakely is past President of Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) and a member of Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO), affiliates of the National League of Cities.  During her tenure as President, WIMG successfully implemented a series of workshops at the United Nations’ Beijing + 5 Follow up Conference on women in New York (6/2000).    In December 2001, NLC President reappointed Blakely to Chair the International Task Force.   

Mayor Blakely currently serves as President of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments; she is past chair of the Legislative Committee, a member of the Transportation Committee and past chair of the San Gabriel Rivers and Mountains Conservancy Committee.  Blakely was instrumental in the passage of SB216 (Solis), creator of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC), which will preserve habitat, acquire land for open space and develop appropriate recreational uses within the RMC area.  Mayor Blakely is a strong advocate for the environment and continues her quest for the acquisition of open space in the Monrovia foothills. 

Mayor Blakely is the California Senate Committee on Rules appointee (from the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments) to the San Gabriel Rivers and Mountains (RMC) Conservancy and its Vice-Chair.  

Born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Blakely came to this country as a child in 1961.  She has lived in California since 1963 and as a Monrovia homeowner since 1975.   Blakely completed her undergraduate work at Pasadena City College (A.A., Humanities) and California State University Los Angeles (B.A., Sociology) and earned a master’s degree from UCLA School of Social Welfare.  She and her husband Michael are the parents of Eric and Eryn Larisa. 

Blakely held positions in Los Angeles County as an eligibility worker, a welfare fraud investigator and children’s emergency response case worker; program director for a non-profit family service agency; municipal program manager; adjunct field faculty and part-time faculty at the UCLA School of Social Welfare, USC School of Social Work and California State University Los Angeles, School of Social Work; and most recently, public affairs region manager for Southern California Edison.  

As an independent public affairs consultant, Blakely has worked on many candidate and issue campaigns.  She is also sought as a public speaker (bilingual, English/Spanish) on many topics including family issues, non-profit board development, local governance, community economic development, community organizing, candidate training and issues campaigns in the United States and internationally.