Getting to know Richard Riordan
Stricker: What was your greatest accomplishment as mayor of Los Angeles?
Riordan: My greatest accomplishment as mayor without question was getting independent people elected to the local school boards. They started a revolution in the schools where kids are put first. Before bureaucrats were put first, booksellers were put first, but never kids.
Stricker: What do you think you could have done better as mayor?
Riordan: I make so many mistakes that I donít worry about them. I admit my mistakes with confidence and I just keep going. Never look back. Learn from your mistakes, but donít worry about them. Learn and keep going and get things done. Make tomorrow better than today.
Stricker: If you could meet anyone in history who would it be?
Riordan: If you say ok, who would you like to be with for a day, Iíd say Churchill would be my number one. Close, I know would be Abraham Lincoln, Churchill and Lincoln, they tie. Or maybe Marilyn Monroe.
Stricker: What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
Riordan: I loved Greek Mythology, I read more sophisticated books when I was seven and eight then I did when I was twelve to fourteen. I think when youíre seven and eight youíre not as scared.
Stricker: What is your favorite book now?
Riordan: If I had to pick Iíd say Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh or Sweet Promised Land by Robert Laxalt.
Stricker: What is your favorite website?
Riordan: My favorite website is www.dannyskidspage.com. Thatís going to cost you. (Laughs)
Stricker: Why did you decide to go into public service?
Riordan: Because I love California and California has been very good to me. Itís given me an opportunity to be a lawyer, to be a venture capitalist and the most wonderful people in the world are from California. Its a great state and I felt that I had to pay back for everything itís done for me.
Stricker: There are five different baseball teams in California. Which one are you going to pick to be your favorite?
Riordan: Depends on what city Iím in at the time. Today itís the San Diego team. Tomorrow would be the Anaheim team. The day after would be Los Angeles and next week Oakland and San Francisco. (Laughs)
Stricker: : What one thing do you think makes you successful?
Riordan: I think itís two things. One is courage, you know the courage to risk making mistakes, the courage to admit mistakes and then keep going. And the other is giving, learning to give to others and getting outside yourself. If you learn to give then it makes you very happy. There are a lot of ways to give.
Stricker: What would you do differently than Gray Davis?
Riordan: What Iíd do is get the best and the brightest people in the world that I can. The best people in health care, the best people in water, the best people in housing, the best people in transportation and I would empower them to make major changes in California. I would not micromanage them. Let the do their jobs and stand back and support them in doing that job. Gray Davis, unfortunately, is what we call a micromanager, he never empowers people to do things. This state is so big and so complicated, you canít run the state unless you empower people to do things.
Stricker: How do you think youíre better than the two Bills, Bill Simon and Bill Jones?
Riordan: Bill Simon and Bill Jones are two excellent people. Bill Simon is a close friend of mine, we belong to the same church, heís very charitable and heís a good businessman. Bill Jones has been an excellent secretary of state. Theyíre both very good people. I think theyíd do a good job as governor, but I think voters are going to have to decide which of us is more likely to beat Gray Davis, and which of us is going to be the better leader of the state. So Iíll let people like you and the voters decide that.