Los Angeles Mayor on Earthquake Response

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," July 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Now I am joined by the mayor of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Mayor, welcome. You are seasoned with this kind of thing. Tell me what experience was like today and how the people of Los Angeles are doing now?

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES (through phone): Well, I'm not in town at this moment. I'm on vacation. But I can tell you that we've been in constant communication with emergency operations board, the LAPD and the L.A. Fire Department report no injuries in the city of Los Angeles, no serious structural damage anywhere in the city.

Video: Watch Martha's interview with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

We're on a — we've activated our emergency operations board nonetheless at level two, and all our agencies are on alert, critical agency heads are situated at the operations board, but at this point, no injuries no, serious structural damage anywhere in the city.

I spoke with the governor, and the city of Chino, and Chino Hills, the area where the epicenter here, about 20 miles east of the city of Los Angeles. There aren't any injuries reported either. There was a short interruption on radar at LAX for about a minute. That doesn't (AUDIO BREAK) radar, that's not been (AUDIO BREAK), those lights (ph) were affected. No repairs were made (INAUDIBLE).

MACCALLUM: Mayor, I hope you can hear me OK, mayor.


MACCALLUM: You know, I'm just curious about what your reaction was. How did you get the information, I'm getting it, how good communication was during this event between all of the city officials and your self, of course, at the top of that chain of command?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, about — within about 30 to 40 seconds, there was — we got an initial e-mail or text message but then the phones went down, so we couldn't contact the emergency operations board, but within about a minute after that, I was able to get through, and as I said, after assessing the situation at 21 different locations throughout the city, there aren't any reports of damages or injuries in the city of Los Angeles.

MACCALLUM: And that must have been a huge relief to you, because clearly, this could have gone the other way quite easily.

VILLARAIGOSA: Well no, question about it. As I said, we are a city that — I mean, like you said, we are a city that has had its share of earthquakes and our first responders are considered some of the best anywhere in the world, and thank God that this was not of a magnitude that caused injuries or serious damage.

MACCALLUM: So, mayor, what's your plan? When will you be back to your city, and what kind of assurances have you gotten from folks — and I'm about to speak to someone at the U.S. Geological Survey, about what might be in the pipeline or what this might mean is down there for the near future?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, (INAUDIBLE) — I'm coming back tonight or tomorrow, but I've been told that given the fact that there are no injuries, no damage, that it wouldn't be necessary at this time. We are monitoring it.

Now, clearly there will be aftershocks, but as a normal course, those aftershocks are smaller than the initial quake, but again, I have a flight waiting and am ready to return as quickly as possible.

MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you so much for joining us on what I know has been nerve-wracking and busy day for you. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, good to talk to you, sir.


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