Mayor Lara L. Blakely
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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.” ”
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.