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Living a Fantasy Life with Antonio Villaraigosa

I was wrong about everything, Antonio told me so.

The freeways aren’t clogged. The roads aren’t rutted. The schools have never been better. The workers never happier. Nowhere is a city greener or more prosperous or so lucky as to have someone in charge like Antonio.

And here I thought we were at the brink of a calamity and it was my duty to yell “Fire! Fire them all!”

I was wrong. Life is good. Poverty isn’t soaring. The rich aren’t getting richer at the public expense. Things aren’t going to hell. The mayor’s cheery words told me so last night in his State of the City speech.

How can you not love the guy, he lives in a world of dreams.

I too have a dream. It’s a lot like his, a world where everybody has enough, none too much, none too little, a world where hopes are fulfilled and reality is better than fantasy.

The mayor set forth last night the fantasy of his legacy, promises of things to come far more than things that are. I wish it were true. I wish I could still believe. But I have lost my faith.

It’s a delicate thing, faith. So much goes into it to be able to make that leap. You got to believe, to believe without conditions, with certainty. The only certainty I see is things are getting worse and a lot of people are going to get hurt before they get better.

But I am wrong, the mayor told me so. He swore the paltry deals he’s cut with the unions will fix the perpetual budget crisis someday, somehow. He promised to reopen the libraries and restore parks programs and the he and he alone has fixed the harbor and airport and building trains and subways and gleaming palaces for pleasure — all clean and green.

I loved it when he paused and beamed his biggest and best smile and told us he had heard what us little people want, all we really want, is more potholes filled and crumbling roads slurry covered so we won’t have to replace our shock absorbers more often than our oil.

Mostly, he talked about how he’s going to tear up the teachers’ contract that he blamed for the failure of the schools and find so much money for education they won’t get laid off. There will even be enough to pay the best teachers what they are worth.

There are always naysayers.

The press ignored almost everything he said as just more bloated narcissistic rhetoric except for the promises he made about education.

The LA Times started its story with these words: “Civic leaders expressed consternation and puzzlement … “  The Daily News opened by saying, “Heading into a tumultuous final two years in office … “

The unkindest cut of all, a cheap shot really, came from Channel 7, which cut from the end of the Mayor’s speech to two stories about bloody gang violence in the city, one of them more than a month old.

But one of his harshest critics, God love her, the LA Weekly’s Jill Stewart opened her critique with nothing but “kudos” for Antonio and suggesting he “deserves
major credit for two seldom-seen qualities tonight in his 2011 State of the City address: 1) He’s got an attention span,
focused on LAUSD’s awful schools … 2) He’s
displaying heroics against teachers unions.”

Sure, there is a dark shadow hanging over the city, and it isn’t smog. It’s the danger of Los Angeles becoming “a post-millennial Detroit.”

“Villaraigosa had to be scared — cold-sweat scared — when he saw the
new 2010 U.S. Census numbers showing the first, unmistakable signs of
mass rejection of Los Angeles as a place where people clamor to live . .L.A. has had anemic, tiny growth over ten years . . . That’s a strong rejection of the luxury condo/Dwell
magazine/live-work vertical development ethos.”

It’s hard to please everybody in a city of malcontents and discontents but the Mayor does have some true and faithful friends thanks to his support for tax holidays and subsidies for developers and businesses and union-only contracts on everything the city gets involved in.

“L.A. is and will continue to be open to business,” the Mayor said, sounding like Herbert Hoover during the height of the last Great Depression.

Maybe that’s enough to spare him serving out his last two “tumultuous” years as Mayor, maybe the great achievements he boasted about will catapult him into the U.S. Senate next year and get him back on track to living his dream.

I, for one, am on his side. Let the good times roll.

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29 Responses to Living a Fantasy Life with Antonio Villaraigosa

  1. Anonymous says:

    Let the good times roll ! but not at Dodger Stadium, I mean, don’t cheer, don’t be the wrong VATO!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I now understand why there is so many pot shops thru Los Angeles. The Mayor Loves to smoke some good shit. I really believe before he when on stage he smoked a nice bomb. Look everytime he said something that sounded good he smiled and probably thought to himself what a bunch dumb mother fuckers still believing my shit. Hey driver I need some more good shit pull over we have two more years to create a dreams.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I now understand why there is so many pot shops thru Los Angeles. The Mayor Loves to smoke some good shit. I really believe before he when on stage he smoked a nice bomb. Look everytime he said something that sounded good he smiled and probably thought to himself what a bunch dumb mother fuckers still believing my shit. Hey driver I need some more good shit pull over we have two more years to create a dreams.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is hilarious and somewhat disturbing is all the idiots council members, City Attorney, Controller and lapdog of Mayor Chief Beck (people seem to have a hard time calling him Chief and instead its “Charlie) and whoever else was in the audience that make fun of, criticize, gossip, etc. about the Mayor were clapping for him. Thank God I could never be a politician and be that two faced. Antonio must know he’s a joke and so does his handlers. What an embarrassement Los Angeles has gone so far down the toliet and this clown continues to pretend we don’t know the truth. FINALLY the media is reporting the truth not what Antonio is pretending it is.

  5. Anonymous says:

    OMG if you all want a good laugh and no disrespect to Ron, you gotta read the comment online re this story on LA Now. Here’s one that still has me rolling with laughter
    “”"Charles23 at 9:00 AM April 14, 2011
    Only a Latino can call a 50% drop out rate an accomplishment

  6. G. Shepherd says:

    Anonymous 10:59: “What an embarrassement Los Angeles has gone so far down the toliet and this clown continues to pretend we don’t know the truth.”
    L.A. certainly has gone down la toilette. Now Villaraigosa will never come an clean them as promised; they’re too dirty.
    The backyards where my pal Bruno and I crap are cleaner!
    Grrrrrr…
    Bruno’s Pal, G.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “I, for one, am on his side. Let the good times roll.”
    Wrong town, Ron. You’re thinking of New Orleans- a true cesspit if ever there was one. We’re getting darned close, though.

  8. Anonymous says:

    When the mayor says LA’s revenue has “stabilized,” he is correct. Unfortunately, it is stable at record low levels. I know someone who used to make $100,000 a year. For the past three years he made $37,000 a year. His income is stabilized, too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The nincompoops who just elected the same Councilmembers who brought on this disaster deserve this Mayor. Enjoy his pearly whites. Must be the brightest of all the Mayors. We can be proud of that.

  10. Anonymous says:

    After President Obama’s 2nd term, Pez V, I mean Prez. V. will continue cleaning up the Dems and Reps mess…All Hail Prez. V.

  11. King Antonio from Hancock Park says:

    Oh, sorry, got a little ahead of myself with that “King” stuff, but, hey, Ron, you’re too hard on me man! I’m just doing my “thin’.” I have an army of gang members on the payroll, I have neutered (or is it spayed?) that ally cat
    Carmen Trutanichoff (I can’t remember how to spell it, I just call him AEG 3, I’m AEG 1, and
    Little Eric is AEG 2 for those FBI transcripts, perhaps?) and now I’m gettin’ Hahn (the good one) in Congress come May, so man, Hey, I’m on a High Roll! As for that Dodger thin’, hey, just the kids provin’ themselves, like I did, man, so be cool, besides, medicine now allows cracked heads to be glued together, so things will work out. Peace, and remember vote me in (for whatever Mr. Lidweke finds me) for in 2012!

  12. Anonymous says:

    How pathetic life in Los Angeles has become. THe State is going bankrupct but Latino politicians continue to support the illegals with free programs. Gangsters in LA have a job with the Mayor. Hell, they’ve even infiltrated City Hall with Homeboy Industries. All the while legal residents continue to look for work but the illegals are takin jobs. They don’t have to worry about healthcare, food, etc. because they get it all on our TAX DOLLAR. 61% of LA County are getting assistance. I’ve never heard the Mayor or any council member make a reference to the unemployed here in Los Angeles. This is our incentive to get involved and make sure NONE Of them are elected to Higher Office EVER again

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is the greatest challenge of those who have realized how unacceptable the work of this Mayor, this City Council, and this City Hall has been in recent years. As with any slow motion disaster, it’s so hard to get the main stream media to focus with any consistency on a story and stay with it until change occurs.
    Change does not occur in a vacuum. It requires a hometown media (print, magazine, and television) that stay focused on highlighting the problems. When they do that, change occurs. The LA Times stories on Bell, have brought stunning change to the residents of that City, many of whom had begun to think it was normal to pay kickbacks for zoning issues, and have their cars confiscated by the police department.
    As long as the populace remain uninformed by the appalling mismanagement of the local government, we cannot bring about the change we desire: new, qualified elected officials that are actually committed to making communities better places to live instead of simiply becoming rich off them.

  14. Yj Draiman for City Council says:

    Draiman – My quest to restore Leadership, Experience and Integrity to City Hall
    YJ Draiman
    Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles (2013)
    I’m not a politician. You won’t get politically correct doublespeak from me, just the plain facts. The plain facts are often disturbing and as a NC Board Member I’ve never been shy from revealing the sometimes ugly truth about the way the City functions.
    Career politicians like the current have no interest in serving the public; rather, they use public office to serve their own interests and those of the small but wealthy cadre of greedy “special interests” who fund their campaigns in return for favors when decisions over controversial matters such as billboards and development have to be made by elected officials.
    All too often, the City Council’s actions support the special interests at the expense of the interests of the ordinary people like you and me.
    When common sense dictates that our already over-congested streets should not be further burdened by more high-density luxury condominium developments, current elected official’s side with the developers and contractors who funnel campaign contributions to further their interests. We need a Los Angeles with Financial Sustainability that is my goal.
    My pledge is for a “City of Los Angeles for the people” not for the politicians and special interests.
    Draiman for Mayor of Los Angeles 2013

  15. Yj Draiman for City Council says:

    Draiman – My quest to restore Leadership, Experience and Integrity to City Hall
    YJ Draiman
    Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles (2013)
    I’m not a politician. You won’t get politically correct doublespeak from me, just the plain facts. The plain facts are often disturbing and as a NC Board Member I’ve never been shy from revealing the sometimes ugly truth about the way the City functions.
    Career politicians like the current have no interest in serving the public; rather, they use public office to serve their own interests and those of the small but wealthy cadre of greedy “special interests” who fund their campaigns in return for favors when decisions over controversial matters such as billboards and development have to be made by elected officials.
    All too often, the City Council’s actions support the special interests at the expense of the interests of the ordinary people like you and me.
    When common sense dictates that our already over-congested streets should not be further burdened by more high-density luxury condominium developments, current elected official’s side with the developers and contractors who funnel campaign contributions to further their interests. We need a Los Angeles with Financial Sustainability that is my goal.
    My pledge is for a “City of Los Angeles for the people” not for the politicians and special interests.
    Draiman for Mayor of Los Angeles 2013

  16. Anonymous says:

    Change won’t happen in LA. Special interests are too entrenched and the populace is clueless and passive. Plus political correctness rubs amok. If you wanted change, you should have voted for Walter Moore to get rid of Villar or support the recall last year.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Walter Moore is a racist jerk. The cowards who had a chance were Zev Yaroslavaky and Caruso who decided not to run because they were so afraid of their chances then, but want to pop up now that the coast is clear. They were then a serious alternative to Villar, not now. I’d never vote for either of them or that pasty guy Beutner or the other City Hall asses like Wendy, Garcetti or that downtown crap Perry.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Say what you want but there are a lot of people who are hoping Caruso jumps in. There’s a lot he’s done for people all over the city but its not in the media because he likes it that way. The whole Glendale fiasco with Patel was a sham. Patel the owner of the small hotel, was in it the entire time for money. Even his supporters were angry he used them. I like Caruso because he’s intelligent, works well with people of all races, has guts and goes with his conviction no matter what the pressure. There isn’t one person in this city I know who does that. They all fold into the political pressure of the mayor and his goons. Caruso will get slammed for being a developer but I don’t know of any developer who has over extended himself to the people who live in the communities he has built in. If you’ve ever heard him speak he makes you wonder, why the hell is our City in such a mess when there are solutions but no leadership to fix it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    2:47. Moore is no more racist than Villar. Villar clearly prefers and landers to the mexicans. Isn’t this racist?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’d rather vote for Patel than Caruso. He had his chance. Cowards who wait for the coast to clear won’t do the city any good. Let him keep developing his malls and enjoy the good life. Does he not have a mall to develop in Arcadia against the wishes of the people there. We don’t need him here.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Even more fantastical is Trutancih who wants to be DA. Cooley lost LA, AND SO WILL TRUTANICH.
    “Baca, who is spearheading the draft Trutanich drive, said through his spokesman Steve Whitmore that the committee has been formed because “a number of individuals have already actively started to campaign for Los Angeles County district attorney.”
    “Mr. Trutanich respects the current District Attorney Steve Cooley to such an extent that he is not going to campaign until Mr. Cooley decides whether he is going to run or not,” Baca said. “In the meantime, it’s important for Mr. Trutanich to put himself in a position where he is able to mount a campaign quickly and effectively should Mr. Cooley not decide to seek a 4th term.”

  22. James McCuen says:

    To Anonymous on April 15, 2011 3:35 PM,
    Here is the low down. Caruso’s actions in Glendale were dishonorable. This Billionaire Republican went running to the corrupt Glendale City Council who threatened Patel with Eminent Domain.
    Message to Caruso and his hypocritical supporters: The way free markets and capitalism are supposed to work is that you make try to make an offer to Mr. Patel that he would accept. If you can’t reach an agreement walk away.
    In the end, Caruso bought out Patel for $16.25 million plus $500,000 settlement of a lawsuit.
    Why use the Glendale City Council (showing how corrupt all of them are) and get the public up in arms. This is what Caruso should have done in the first place, mano e mano.
    But Patel, turned out to be the bigger man and outsmarted the not so smart businessman Caruso.
    So I agree with the other commenter, I would take Patel over Caruso. Or better yet, someone with integrity, which may be hard to fine in LA or even California.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The fact the Caruso is a developer doesn’t automatically bad. But Caruso does get the maximum advantage for himself on the deals he made such as Glendale and Thousand Oaks.
    It is up to the elected officials to act as Stewards over taxpayer funds and taxpayer-owned assets and in Glendale, they obviously didn’t Caruso cut a profit sharing deal that allowed him to earn over 12% return on retail operations before he gives Glendale a cent.
    What did Caruso get in exchange? All of the land for the Americana for free.
    Now you may think, what a smart guy or what a stupid City Council. But the real question is, why would you ever elect Caruso for public office? He cannot be trusted.

  24. Anonymous says:

    OMG Yes, and to all WE ARE ALL PERFECT HUMAN BEINGS. Pleaseeeee Its going to be a hot Mayor race. If you’re so naive to think for one second the person you want elected is going to be a top notch wonderful, perfect, ethical human being, get to reality. They don’t exist. Trutanich has already shown he supports illegals because of the case of 9 students Dream Act racidals he pussied out and didn’t make them do at least a couple of days in jail. He’s courting Latino politicians which is his #1 mistake. Legal Latinos who CAN vote are against Dream Act, want tougher immigration reform, support Arizona and these idiot politicians are clueless on that in this city. The media has never ever done a story on that side of the issue.

  25. anonymous says:

    Anonymous on April 16, 2011 7:30 AM–Could you please cite where you obtained the information that legal Latinos support Arizona?
    I’m not saying you are wrong, so please do not take my question as a jab. It’ just that the legal latinos I’ve talked to do not support Arizona. What they do support is an easier process to become legal.

  26. Anonymous says:

    7:47am You’re definitely not speaking to the thousands of legal Mexican Americans in this city. All anyone has to do is take a drive into the communities that have been deteroriated by the illegals and ask around what the Latino residents who have been there for generations with their families think. Go to the South LA, Pacoima, Van Nuys, Wilmington, Eastside, dowontown LA etc. Their voice is not being heard. Their called racist because they support AB1070. Our State is on the verge of collapsing but the illegal immigrants still get their FREE Sevices all the while unemployed US citizens are struggling. They don’t get food stamps, welfare, WIC, etc. The Gov to save money and help our Seniors should cut all those programs for the illegals which cost billions.

  27. Anonymous says:

    A mayor should focus on the City. Education is critical to the future of LA but its not really the Mayor’s responsibility. It is ok to have opionions about education and we should know what the mayor thinks. But he should spend no more than 10% of his time and staff on the issue. This is why its important that we understand what we want from a future Mayor. Private sector candidates(developers-Caruso, private equity firms-Riordan) are not going to solve local government problems because they are totally biased. Take a second look at Wendy Gruel, at this point she is probably the best of the bunch. She is smart, progressive, committed to the City (going back to the Bradley years), has a detailed knowledge of the budget, and respects all stakeholders. But she needs to develop a campaign platform that is published well in advance of the election to allow us time to digest her ideas.

  28. anonymous says:

    Anonymous on April 16, 2011 7:30 AM & 7:58 AM -
    You are right, I am not speaking to the majority. The people I have talked to add up to around 300 in Van Nuys and Palmadale–all church goers.
    I’m definitely not injecting my opinion of the law or quality of life–just opinions of legal Latinos I have talked to.
    Since the majority that you know of (the unheard that you’ve heard from) have voiced their concerns to you, is there a way you can tally their voices into some sort of survey?
    Then again, perhaps such a survey is pointless. Since when has a politician listened to their constituents?

  29. live cam says:

    I just love this article. Have you ever thought of a career in writing? If So shoot me a Email I know some people.

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