Mayoral Villarigosa’s long-time aide and most loyal supporter, Deputy Chief of Staff Jimmy Blackman sent out this email blast Friday afternoon after announcing he was resigning. In a statement and email he told the LA Times: “I will always remain loyal to Mayor Villaraigosa and proud of our accomplishments over
the years…”I am not a part of any inquiry into this issue, nobody has asked to
speak with me about it, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my
departure.” Here is Blackman’s email to friends explaining his departure:
From: Jimmy Blackman
August 13 will be my last day in the office working for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
This decision is mine and mine alone and it came after a great deal of personal deliberation. Public service, politics, and the Villaraigosa world has been near the center of my life for most of the past 13 years – more than one third of my life. It is not easy to walk away. I plan
to take some time off and figure out what my next career move will be. I have solicited no job offers and have nothing lined up. I will continue to work hard at this job until my very last day in the office.
Over the past years I have tried to stay true to my values and beliefs. I have tried to remember the reason why I got into this business – to serve others and create positive change, particularly in under-served communities. I have made many mistakes along the way, but I have no regrets.
I ask that this email serve as my going away message to those that I have worked with and for. I will leave the office the same way that I entered 13 years ago. I want no parties, no fan fare, and no long good byes. Anybody who knows anything about me knows that I would not have it any other way.
I will be in the office for the next two weeks for those who wish to stop by or send me a message. Other than that, let this message serve as closure from this chapter in my professional life. If it is too long I apologize in advance.
In April of 1997 I was given an opportunity by Assembly Majority Leader
Antonio Villaraigosa and his District Director Suzanne Manriquez to be a Field Deputy in Echo Park and the surrounding communities. Shortly thereafter I became a Special Assistant to Speaker Villaraigosa, worked as the Field Director for his 2001 campaign for Mayor, served as his Campaign Manager in 2003 for his race for City Council, then as his Chief of Staff in City Council and most recently as his Deputy Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s office for the past 5+ years.
An opportunity was given to me in 1997 and I have tried to make the most of it. At each step along with way I have realized how fortunate I have been. Hard work and loyalty has helped me to build my career, but nobody can ever make it here all alone. With that in mind, I have many people that I need thank and acknowledge.
First and foremost I want to thank the Mayor for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. It has been my honor to work with a great leader and a great team in an effort to create positive change in both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles.
I was there when we lost in 2001 and then again when we won in 2003. I was there for the 24 hour bus rides and once again on election night in 2005 when I held the phone as Mayor Hahn graciously called to concede and wish newly elected Mayor Villaraigosa well. I was right in the middle of history as it all unfolded.
It has been a long and incredible journey. I will always remain loyal to Mayor Villaraigosa and proud of our accomplishments over the years I have thousands of stories that will remain with me. Those who know the most say the least.
I want to thank Richard Alarcon for being the first one to give me a chance to have a leadership position in politics when I served as his Chief of Staff in the State Senate in 2002. I remain thankful for the opportunity that he gave me and I will always be a supporter of his.
I want to thank the rest of the City Council that as a body has been very good to me over my past 7 years here in city hall. In addition to Richard Alarcon, I want to especially thank Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge, and of course my friend Dennis Zine for always being there for me
I want to thank all of the people that I worked with for Councilmember Villaraigosa from July of 203 to June of 2005 and the honorary members of the team like Michael Trujillo and Miguel Espinoza who were always busy working on “outside projects”. We built a great team and many of you are still with us today. I will always have a connection to CD 14 and the team that we had.
When we started in the Mayor’s office in July of 2005 we had a limited staff and a small leadership team that included myself, Robin Kramer, and Marcus Allen. Together we built a great team of staff, commissioners, and general managers that I remain extremely proud of.
The best part of this job has always been the people that I have had the privilege of working with. Robin Kramer – a truly incredible leader.Marrcus Allen – the single smartest person that I have ever worked with. And of course Larry Frank – the most effective person I have
ever worked with.
I want to thank all of the people in the Mayor’s office who stay behind the scenes and get the work done. I am proud to be one of you.There have been so many unsung heroes over the years in this office, many of whom I have had the opportunity to personally hire. People who
work hard to get the job done and ask for very little in return. People like Mike Fong, Paola Valdivia, Margarita Rivas, Patricia Bryant, John Choi, Martha Preciado, Antonio Sanchez, Brenda Anderson, and many, many others. I hope that you know that your work has been recognized and is appreciated. You are the ones that have made this place work and you
are the ones that have made the journey worthwhile for me.
I want to thank all of my assistants who have worked with me along the way. Cathy Finley, Serena Zeise, Angelica Ayala, Carla Martinez, Jessica Oleta, and Alvaro Pacheco – yes there have been many. You have given me so much and taken care of me and my family at every
opportunity. I am proud of each one of you as you have all moved on to bigger and better things. Know that you are appreciated and I will forever be loyal to each one of you.
Most importantly I want to thank the very small group of people who have been through the battles and stayed loyal to both the Mayor and me at every single turn. The people who have never let me or the office down. The people who know the real story of this administration.
People like Areen Ibranossian and David Rahimian who I love like brothers. People who knew the story before the words were ever spoken.
To my mother and father, Sam and Susie Blackman. I have tried to learn from you. You have kept me grounded and reminded me to work hard, pay my dues, and always remember where I have come from. My mother came to this country from Taiwan, never went to school a day in her life, and rides the bus every single day – yet she worked hard to put my brother
through Columbia Business School and me through both Stanford and graduate school at USC. And my father – if there is one person on the planet who is smarter than Marcus Allen it’s Sam Blackman. I got my work ethic from my mother. My brother got his intelligence from our dad. Go figure. Thank you both for always being there for me.
To my ex-wife Maria – I will always be grateful to you for being there when I was not. You have endured so much and remained true to yourself and our family. You have supported me at every step along the way, even when I didn’t deserve it, and been the primary caretaker of
our beautiful daughter. I will be thankful to you for the rest of my life.
Finally to my 14 year old daughter Alyssa who has grown up with this job almost from the start. Every day I remind myself that I am the luckiest man in the world to have you in my life. Over the past 13 years this job has been synonymous with my struggles to balance the
demands of my work with my responsibilities as a parent.
It has never been easy, but you have been worth it. You are, and always will be, the single most important thing in my life.
From the Speakers office to the City Council to the Mayor’s office it has been a wonderful experience.
One day the real story of the Villaraigosa administration will be written (not by me) and it has truly been my honor to have played a small role in this history.