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Abandoning Antonio’s Ship: Loneliness at the Top

You got to feel for Antonio Villaraigosa. He’s taken over the schools, launched his pay more for less water and power initiatives, tweeting hourly of his accomplishments and ignoring the city’s budget crisis, and now key players on his team are abandoning him.

Chief of Staff Robin Kramer is announcing her departure today at 10:30 a.m. in what’s billed as “a major announcement regarding his administration.”

In a brilliant managerial stroke, the mayor is naming gang czar Jeff Carr as his new chief of staff — what could be more righteous than to put a gang intervention expert into the middle of a gang of thieves.

In other words, Kramer — who has been in and out of City Hall from Richard Alatorre, Dick Riordan and now Antonio — has had enough after four years in the hot seat.

That leaves a lot of holes in the lineup.

Fire Chief Douglas Barry has retired.

Police Chief William Bratton has chosen to chase the green as a global security expert.

His lawyer Thomas Saenz – architect of his first failed school takeover plan and negotiator of his sweetheart labor contracts — has gone on to the more natural surroundings of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational
Fund.

Andrew Adelman, the head of the Building and Safety Department, has gone on injured reserve — a self-inflicted wound caused by accusations against him of date rape and other californications.

And sooner rather than later the plug is going to have to be pulled on DWP General Manager David Nahai who is finding it’s very lonely at the top of the nation’s largest municipal utility when everyone around you hates your guts.

The mayor is finding it’s tough being captain of a ship without a crew, of being the butt of so many jokes about being the city’s worst water waster when everyone else in town is getting slugged with soaring DWP bills even as their lawns are turning brown and it’s getting too expensive to turn on the air conditioning.

At the current rate of departures, there soon will be no one left to turn out the lights at the mayor’s mansion.

Not to worry. Unemployment is so high, the mayor will have no trouble finding jobless people to fill all his openings.

I’d apply but I work for love, not money.





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37 Responses to Abandoning Antonio’s Ship: Loneliness at the Top

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ron where are your 20 plus years as editor of the Daily News gone?
    If you ever spoke to Robin after her Riordan days she never had an interest in returning to the City.
    But something great happened, someone she believed in got elected Mayor, but she always made it clear should would only do 4 years on her second tour of duty.
    But you covered Riordan didn’t you? You know that after the first term thats when people depart and new energy comes in. Its part of the natural flow of government work, now if these staffers were leaving in the middle of his first term or middle of his second, then you would have a point.
    But no, anything you can do to push your hater agenda will always take priority on your blog.
    And while you enjoyed your little scoop of what the 10:30am press conference is about, how about you call your sources to figure out who the replacement is — whats wrong Ron, your sources don’t know the answer?
    You mean your “insider” knowledge is what they want you to know?
    Jeez you’d think after being an editor for over 20 years you’d have better sources, but maybe thats why you got fired.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You must be getting to the gangsters, Ron, they hate your guts!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yawn… This is in fact the normal second-term turnover cycle. More importantly, what impact will Robin Kramer’s departure really have? By all accounts she’s a nice lady who is very proficient at administration and consensus building. But has she left any real policy footprints. She’s part of the Coro gang that has worn a deep groove in the back bench at City Hall, and for the past four years she’s enabled Antonio’s sleepwalking through his first term. Maybe a new chief of staff who will shake things up is exactly what he needs.

  4. flipped out says:

    why does anyone think that supertonyv has any desire to leave a real policy footprint in LA? When did he ever articulate such a plan and follow through on it, in the first 4 years as mayor, or during his many years in Sacto? Let’s be real. Tonyv has the charm of bill clinton, but not the brains, not even close. But given his predecssor, we needed anything we could get. It’s not entirely tonyv’s fault that the us economy collapsed, but the writing was on the wall. But tony was too busy checking out the phone numbers on the wall advertising a good time instead of the more important stuff.
    As Ron Kaye pointed out, there’s a race between rising deficits and rising unemployment, and we have open spots to run the lafd and lapd. Now kramer is leaving. From my limited experience, it doesn’t seem like a coincidence, but it would nice to have a little more sourcing behind it. I mean, it’s not exactly the best time to look for a job, but I would think that her experience would and relationships will provide her a soft landing.

  5. Glenn Bell says:

    Ron, a great title for a new piece.
    “Sexual Power Tools and the Californication of Los Angeles”
    Now that might just be a Pulitzer
    I smell a HBO series
    LOL
    Glenn

  6. Anonymous says:

    We shall see in the coming months what is really going on at the top of City Hall!? Whatever the reason, leaving a position always causes alarm. Especially, in the beginning of a term. There has to be something fishy going on….Or in fact, all would be wonderful in the City family…but oops, we are but DEAD WOOD!

  7. City Hall Mike says:

    People who do not work for City Government are now just finding out what most of us have known for 4 years and before: This mayor is a complete joke.
    He is inexperienced and unqualified..All he does is travel on the taxpayers dime and push is own tired agenda of self-aggrandizement. Anyone who flunked the California Bar 4 times is not very bright, thus we ended up with mini mayor.
    Instead of most of the City’s General Managers leaving the Mayor should just resign or be recalled. Hey LA….you got the mayor you deserve!

  8. City Hall Mike says:

    Say what you will about our mini mayor’s predecessor but Jim Hahn was very smart and honest.
    Can’t say that now!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Giving Carr credit for the reduction of gang crime recently (until this weekend and when prisoners are released from state prisons) as he did at the press conference really seems stretching it. With Janice Hahn being there too, beaming, just as she’s about to push again to put another property tax on homeowners for HER gang programs. Janice Hahn and Carr being in charge of gang programs gives us all great confidence, they’re a perfect replacement for losing Chief Bratton. Right.
    Yes, 12:09, a mayor who talks about how he went to law school but couldn’t pass the bar is a joke, and then we have this ignoramus incompetent city attorney who went to a literal no-name night school for law school and just proposed a graffiti injunction that is so devoid of understanding of the constitution or what is and isn’t legally enforcable, it’s being widely blasted as a make-work project for civil rights attorneys.
    What a pathetic excuse for leadership on public safety. Then when we do finally get a new police chief, he or she will have to endure the petty ego battles of other half-literate clowns like Zine, Smith, Parks and Perry. And the goons at the LAPPL like Weber and his “political consultant” fresh from his bullying on behalf of the state prison guards union that helped get us into this fiscal crisis, and is forcing prisoners to be released onto our streets. Might as well put LaBonge and Reyes in charge of public safety and be done with it. No, wait, we’ve already got Carr and Hahn, couldn’t get any better.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Jay Carson-the guy has lived in Los Angeles for a few months and now he is Deputy Chief of Staff? The wheels have fallen off that place, if they were ever on.

  11. Sandy Sand says:

    Californication! Good word, and a good thing isn’t radio, because I’d hate to have to pronounce it.
    Could this epidemic of rats leaving the sinking SS Los Angeles really be an infectious viral case of too many cooks stirring the stew and it’s getting too hot in the kitchen?

  12. eagle rock says:

    how is this mayor pick his clown jay carson i gest the smart ones dont whant to be close to lover boy
    somthing is goin to give in los angeles city hall evry one sence this is just matter of time
    evry one in city hall have fail los angeles
    there all crooks and liars

  13. Anonymous says:

    The Housing Department Director position is vacant too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So the deck chairs on the Titanic have been shifted around. The ship will still sink and the Captain will go down with it.

  15. anonymous says:

    I understood she never wanted to stay on for a second term. It is rumored that Jimmy Blackman calls the shots. Robin was a good administrator. Jimmy is the silent climber making sure the solid high donors and revenue makers (so to speak) are satisfied.
    What might prove interesting is the potential, and not visible, power struggle between Jimmy and Czar Carr. Perhaps they will agree to scratch each other’s backs and, in three and an half years, they can advance while leaving Tony in their wake.

  16. anonymous says:

    Good post Ron. You hit the nail on the head with the water bill-brown lawn and a sky high bill. Why water for fire prevention when my DWP bill is higher than my fire insurance and mortgage combined?
    Happy trails Robin.

  17. Robert says:

    Thanks Ron for the insight to post this diaster. How can anyone say the Village Idiot Jeff Carr has been a success. From July to August homicides in South LA is 30 and they have all those screwed up Summer Night Lights programs. I hope the mainstream media isnt’ stupid enough not to research the diaster of those anti gang programs in the parks and say how successful Antonio and Carr have been. Great to see LA Times get it right and not tout Carr as everyone was yesterday as the great white hope. He’s a dumb white guy that’s not from LA and thinks we should all pray for gang bangers. This is the Peter Principle, you promote idiots like Carr hoping no one will notice their failures

  18. Kristin Sabo says:

    Sandy,
    Seattle PI columnist Emmett Watson coined the phrase “Californication” to describe what was happening to us Western Washingtonians under the onslaught of S CA migration of individuals and developers in the 1980s to our beautiful Pacific Northwest. That was when they realized they could dump their S CA homes for $250,000 and buy a better one in the Seattle area for $80,000. It was easy to spot the S CA developers’ handiwork: just look for the 100% clear-cut, stripped lots scarring the hillsides and you knew who was at work there.
    I still mourn my home of 26 years. A place practically pastoral, a place that was destroyed by a migratory group of predators with all the greed and complete lack of care of the individual, quality of life, and the environment that we constantly complain about through these blogs.
    God, I hate so much about S CA as personified in our charming politicians, but home isn’t home anymore and I have responsibilities that keep me here. I hope I live long enough to see the people of S CA finally take control of this area and improve the quality of life for everyone here. Watching so many humans just trying to make it through another day is heart-breaking.
    RIP Seattle of the early 1980s, Emmett, and the Seattle PI as an independent newspaper.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Whoever said that Jim Hahn was smart and honest is completely insane. Of the two, Janice is by far the better politician, and that in and of itself is frightening. Jim was just the pretender to the throne, and as such was used at will by special interests. He’s in a better place for him, and we need an extraordinary individual in the Mayor’s seat. I have yet to see one in this town who could do the job.

  20. El Quixotian says:

    Well, Anonymous 9:13, I’d love to have your take on Caruso, who had the presence of mind to be off this year to keep spending “time with the family” while more likely, eyeing the writing on the was was the economy/budget blight as much as anybody but a Republican.

  21. Anonymous says:

    9:13 says a mild “maybe” on Caruso. He certainly knew to stay the hell away from the mess Antonio and friends made. Would have been an interesting campaign, with RC asking a lot of questions about finances that Antonio would have just loved.
    Somewhere, someone must be able to save the wretched town. I seriously doubt that someone is anyone who swears by any standard party line.

  22. El Quixotian says:

    He seems a golden boy in a lot of ways, which automatically disqualifies him in some circles. When I lived on the suburban border with Ventura County, he was the dream developer for projects in an area otherwise dominated by slow growth.
    The Grove got him in cross hairs of some, and he’s had battles since, but usually charms them over.
    And I like the guy from shaking his hands a few times and what I’ve heard from those who are closer to him.
    But I’ve also heard him villified by others, who don’t have nice things to say from the Friends of Solis perspective of his time on the Police Commission…so I wonder if there’s anything to that, or if it’s just the normal brown left vs white right thing.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Caruso is an arrogant ,selfish ,white supremacist ,identifying with the minutemen.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Caruso is an arrogant ,selfish ,white supremacist ,identifying with the minutemen.
    snore………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………

  25. Anonymous says:

    Any man who did not have the courage to throw his hat in the ring till it was safe for him to run with an opposition with little money compared to his should be banished forever from LA politics. Don’t bother running after 4 years. No Courage. He had his chance.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the Mayor’s Planning Commissioners are also deserting the ship. Yesterday’s City Planning Commission meeting had to be cancelled for lack of a quorum. Unprecedented.

  27. piano says:

    The Minutemen? That’s a plus in my book.

  28. Anonymous says:

    LACERS staff report is out. ERIP will unravel.
    http://www.eaaunion.net/media/files/090828015709_Staff_Recommendation.pdf
    Layoffs and furloughs for us regular folks will start to avoid bankruptcy, if it’s not too late already.
    Must be great to be working for DWP though. 3.25% salary increase on Oct. 1. Thanks Brian! You’re the man!

  29. Anonymous says:

    5:50PM You are right. He is a p….
    No cohones.Made his money on the old man`s sweat.He is prancing now as a peacock.We all know his type. He had the audacity to consider running for mayor.

  30. Anonymous says:

    8:33PM.You must be working for D`Arcy.The raise was 5.9%!!!!!!!!!!!!! ,not 3.25%.

  31. silly wannabe poet says:

    When the cat’s away, the mice will play;
    perhaps pursuing greener hay.
    Tony says “replaced.”
    Is that the special way
    to save his tarnished face
    since she never planned to stay?
    Or, is this just what they say
    in political soirees?
    After all, tomorrow is another day.
    Or not.

  32. Anonymous says:

    9:31 PM — The 5.9% raise was Oct. 1, 2008. The ADDITIONAL raise for Oct. 1, 2009 will be 3.25%. And you wondered why your rates are going up?

  33. Anonymous says:

    7:57PM. I totally understand.You are special species.Your existence,however,is coming to an end in this City,fast.Enjoy while you are around.

  34. Robert says:

    Caruso was really liked by the rank and file. He was one most popular police commissioners. He was fair and balanced. He is very generous with all his money to those less fortunate and doesn’t publicize it. He is a decent man and all anyone has to do is read about the fights he’s had in communities like glendale and how he won people over simply by listening to them. He has his critics but bottom line is a lot of people wanted him to run for Mayor but Caruso played it smart. Watch the city view round table airing of his discussion with Dave Bryant and you will see how he thinks smart.

  35. key says:

    Why not Fabian Nunez for police chief? He needs work. Or better yet, his son, after the former Assembly Speaker gets those murder charges thrown out. If we’re going to have an apocalypse, why not just go all the way?

  36. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know about ITA? There was an AGM who supposedly retired, but the rumors are is that he was pushed out because of mishandling personnel matters.

  37. Vaginosis says:

    Thanks , I have recently been looking for information about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

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