Los Angeles prepares for tsunami, Mayor Villaraigosa comments on quake

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at the launch of the unaffiliated political organization known as No Labels December 13, 2010 at Columbia University in New York City.

Emergency officials this morning stood by in Southern California, preparing for any possible tsunami damage.

When the earthquake hit Japan last night, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was out of town. He's in Washington meeting with lawmakers about transportation money.

But the mayor says he was notified of the quake almost immediately by his Deputy Director for Public Safety and Homeland Security and has been getting "periodic assessments" from his staff both by phone and email.

"We're looking at, as I understand it ,about a one to one-and-a-half foot surge in and around the port area. But we're monitoring it and obviously making sure we have the assets deployed and people are protected."

Mayor Villaraigosa says the city's emergency operation center is open at "level one" which means a unified command system with police, fire and other agencies working together. The mayor returns to Los Angeles this afternoon.

Villaraigosa sent his "thoughts and prayers" to the people of Japan. He says, "the City of Los Angeles stands ready and willing to help in any way it can to ease the suffering and aide in the recovery of this devastating earthquake."

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