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Antonio Villaraigosa, Political Superstar — Obama’s Secret Re-Election Weapon?

It’s
finally clear: All the world is a stage for a ham like Antonio Villaraigosa -
it’s just that the stage of Los Angeles isn’t big enough anymore, the role of
mayor of the nation’s second largest city just isn’t worthy of his talents
anymore.

He
isn’t the failure as mayor as so many have concluded. He checked out because he
was bored with such a two-bit part in a town out in the desert somewhere far
from the real action.

So
he’s stepped onto the larger stage of political theater, lecturing the governor
and legislators in a Sacramento speech a few weeks ago about how to fix the
state’s budget problems by gutting Proposition 13 and eliminating taxes for
corporations.

Just
two weeks ago, he escalated his campaign for undisclosed future offices by submitting a
letter to Congress and delivering a rousing speech (
Transportation9-6-11.pdf) about he has transformed Los
Angeles.

LA
is a model for of how America can move forward and put people to work, how in
just six short years he has built a great transportation system, how he has brought
intelligent planning to create livable sustainable neighborhoods using
renewable energy and reformed a badly broken school system.

Noting
how last month he “called for fixing California’s busted budget and tax
systems,” he chastised Congress for having “dithered enough over deficits and
debts” and urged the President to “take the money that was used to build
democracy in Iraq and now use it to build the bridges, the schools, the rail
lines we need here at home.”

“We
cannot keep living on the investments our parents and grandparents made. If we
want to get people working again … If we want to secure a better future for
the next generation … We must reject the politics of cut and cap. And embrace
the politics of create and collaborate. “

The
nation “will look to Los Angeles and Southern California”
for inspiration from what he has achieved, he said. 

“In
our new subways, rail-lines, roadways and
busways, they will see one of the largest, most innovative infrastructure
projects of the new century. America will
look to Los Angeles and see a new type of leader. They will see a region that
leads in transit ridership, not gridlock ... And that leads in sustainability, not smog.

“We
have accomplished a tremendous amount in a very short time. But let us pledge
to do more.”

Two
days after this remarkable, incredible really, speech, he was in Washington to
lobby for transportation funding to deliver on his promises.

Then,
he sat with the First Lady up front at a joint session of Congress as President
Obama eloquently laid out his plan to put America back to work.

As
president of the 165-member US Conference of Mayors, he
warned Congress that two million jobs were “on the line” at a time of “historic
unemployment across the country” so they should act immediately to extend the
federal transportation law and provide funding (
ConferenceMayors.rtf).

“There is no more time to waste. We need Congress to act now.
The clock is ticking and if an extension is not signed by the President before
September 30, the entire program will be suspended and threaten the loss of 1.8
million jobs. That is an additional blow that our workers
, our
economy, and our crumbling infrastructure cannot bear. “

He was back in Washington Monday when the President offered his
“Buffett Rule” soak-the-rich tax hike and deficit reduction.

He also spoke as a leading school reform leader to the
right-wing American Enterprise Institute where he was honored with the 2011 “
Champion for Charters” award
from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Promoting
the event AEI said he “earned a reputation
as a hard-charging and outspoken
champion of school improvement … shut down failing schools, created new
opportunities for alternative school providers, and navigated around
complicated union contracts … Join us for a conversation on what Villaraigosa
has learned from his efforts in Los Angeles, what it takes for mayors to impact
public education, and how policymakers and reformers can help drive urban
school improvement.”

AEI’s report on the mayor’s appearance, written by Bridget
Johnson,
a former staffer at the Daily News and frequent Op-ed contributor,
picked up on the mayor’s criticism of teacher unions.

“I
probably terrorize them more than people on the right,” Villaraigosa said after
noting that the union hadn’t budged a bit on reform initiatives during his six
years in office. “I’m unabashedly pro-union but I’m pro-kid.

“I
am not anti-union but I do take umbrage with some of the issues they’ve gotten
behind … they’re too focused on rights and not responsibilities. We need union
contracts that provide us flexibility to innovate.”

Villaraigosa
said the tenure system is “broken” and seniority should not be the deciding
factor in teacher assignments, salary, and the like. “Nobody has a job for
life.”

 Villaraigosa said more Democrats need to
challenge the powerful unions while Republicans should acknowledge that money
is part of the answer.

“Our
schools are badly broken. Our schools are starved for dollars and cents; our
policies are starved for common sense,” the mayor said.

He
proudly touted that the LAUSD has more charter schools than any other district
in the country and the “vast majority” of them are high performing. He didn’t
mention that the charters he controls directly are underperforming LAUSD
schools and most other charters.

It
is a busy few days for the mayor with meetings with national teacher union
leaders, members of Congress and the Obama Administration, pushing for transportation
and job creation programs.

For Antonio, politics always has been more theater than substance. So what is he auditioning for by playing the part of a leader of substance and vision on the state and national scene? 

Does he think Sen. Feinstein will retire and he can take his rewritten narrative of time as mayor and win the Senate seat? Does he harbor hopes that Obama in a second term will make him Transportation or Education Secretary, maybe even reach out to him a possible Vice President candidate to replace Joe Biden and help bring home the growing Latino vote?

Wouldn’t that be something?

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32 Responses to Antonio Villaraigosa, Political Superstar — Obama’s Secret Re-Election Weapon?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Antonio is a phony with no principles

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can the Obama team be so naive as to not know what a complete and utter failure this clown of a Mayor is? He has not list of accomplishments here in LA yet just like the Peter Principle he keeps going for higher jobs. The problem is Antonio the clown has been protected by the media just like they protect the gay actors in this town. However, you would think more people who know the truth of the damage he’s done what step up for the People and tax payers of this city and report the truths.

  3. NoHo Mom says:

    The east-coast centric media doesn’t have a clue about California, and Antonio counts on their laziness and ignorance to rewrite history. Unbelievable.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Obama team needs a high recognition Latino in their camp. Accomplishments are irrelevent.

  5. jeff says:

    As in the last presidential elections, Tony will pimp for any candidate on the promise of delivering the latino vote.
    Also, as in the last presidential race, the candidates will use him and throw him aside after he deliveries, as they can read him like the tawdry telenovela he has become.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The vote from the Latino Community is important but not in California. However a Voice for the Dream Act, because Senator Reid will insist then Villaraigosa would be invaluable-How will he play his cards?
    The POTUS said in his speech, the money will be for needed projects and watched carefully after the CA. Solar Company folded after getting 535 Million Dollars.
    Jobs? Will these project create non-union jobs? Construction guys need work too right? But what about administrators, accountants, project managers, ect., .. What is the unemployment level in the City? What will the unemployment be if the project gets the money?
    I’ve watch how local politicans are getting together with other local politicans, the Mayor is on this BOARD or that BOARD .. for interest outside the City.. so it’s true, that the $$ could be mishandled–however the FBI was all over the Solar Firm that tried to ditch out.
    We really do need NEW JOBS, NET GROWTH in jobs, not transfer’s to open “grant positions” but REAL JOBS working for the CITY?
    BTW, Prop 13 is not a tax loophole. Here is a real fear: If you mess with the “Commercial Property” side of the PROP, the NEXT step, Residential?

  7. Yes Jobs says:

    Jobs are badly needed. For all the poking and kidding and name calling, when times are bad it’s time to come together as a community to be more helpful. All I want is the Mayor to find it’s residents JOBS. A good job, to help restore self respect and to be part of the community. What will it take?

  8. In Eagle Rock says:

    Antonio is now working to be hopping to another seat in the musical chairs of politics. You have to give him credit for not being shamed by any of his personal behavior or the assortment of (poor)choices he has made in his role of mayor.
    He seems to have some good P.R. going outside of L.A. The Carmegeddon 405 closure was deemed one of his successes by a SF Chronicle reporter in July who just can’t say enough to praise him while taking in all the Villaraigosa camp’s spin on things.
    “LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa takes on big issues,” Carla Marinucci, http://government180.blogspot.com/2011/07/sf-chronicle-la-mayor-villaraigosa.html
    The real deal there was the Sunday padding on that closure that hurt area businesses needlessly. Sunday traffic was a non-occurrence, Most people were abiding by the warnings issued to stay away, and they put most driving on hold. Not really something to claim as his success. I can’t see him as being much involved with the planning here to any remarkable extent.
    But Antonio is great to all who don’t live here and see what he’s really been doing as mayor, most of it not acting as mayor but some sort of press agent for himself and then returning to L.A. to make decisions that were really delegated to his 200-plus staff members.
    He really brings up that “Caine Mutiny” character to mind, “Capt. Queeg” when it comes to leadership over the terms. The hard cuts to city workers cited in the story have “what really happened” vs. “what the newspapers reporter calls it.” The real number came to be around 400, or so, with masses transferred to the DWP- how did they operate before without these folks?
    What we need for better conditions in L.A. is an entirely different mayor who will hang around to learn what’s going on in the city first-hand, not some self-absorbed, terminal narcissist who can’t wait for the next photo opp but shuns any press conferences where he might- god forbid- be presented with actual questions.
    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of 2012 candidates that can be as bad or possibly worse than Antonio, the council members his best puppets.
    Maybe being gone so much was the lesser of two evils in having Antonio for mayor. When he was here he did a lot, just nothing to benefit the people of L.A. but more to set up the facade of being a real city leader.
    Antonio’s most productive actions? Possibly, “I’ll need two tickets please. I am bringing a guest with me. It’s all city business, you know.” That seemed to work for a long time for him. Lots of arrogance, but then barely a slap on the wrist when the fines for the ethics violations were timidly assessed. And even then, he didn’t have to pay out a dime.
    Could it be that evasion of consequences that Antonio manages to produce that impresses people like Carla Marinucci?

  9. Wayne from Encino says:

    Mayor Dirtbag is running for DiFi’s seat (her campaign manager looted her election funds account with other Dems–yes, the modern day Joan of Ark! and the old Bag is what, like 99 years old now?) Can he win it? Ironically, he’d be a cinch under a primary system (winning the Dem nod), but under the new OPEN PRIMARY he’d have a tough time. Say, for example Dan Lungren AND Tom McClintock got in that Senate race next year vs. Antonio and say another Dem like Ted Liu. It’d be a run off vs. Liu and a Republican.
    If Antonio ran a NASTY primary vs. another Dem, he’d be able to win. In these new general primary races, you have to run a positive campaign vs. the uber nasty ones to get into the run off.
    You’ll see how this OPEN PRIMARY system, devised by the Dems will actually lose them ground in the State. The Dems were dumb to ever change a system of guaranteed majority status. But their power hungry appetite to overturn Prop 13 forced them to try to rewrite the election code to grab 2/3 of the State Senate. Republicans will run as decline to state in heavy Dem areas, and start grabbing, or at least making it VERY EXPENSIVE for incumbants to hold on to their ill gotten seats of power.
    Wendy Gruel is a cinch for Mayor. In 2009 she was the overall top vote-getter with 62% (rembember the pre-Gaga Trutanich was 2nd.) She’s made no major mistakes. Yet, we have all these fools running for mayor? She had a 12 year HEAD START ON THAT JOB, so how is anyone going to catch her?
    Finally you know the amazing part of this 2013 upcomming election cycle? KEVIN JAMES COULD OF RAN FOR CONTROLLER AND EASILY WON IT! His only opposition would of been Zine and some other well qualified, but long shot choices. He’s a lawyer with an accounting background, a superior choice actually for that seat.
    BUT THERE’S STILL TIME. Maybe his Long Beach campaign advisors and non-Gagaists (the load of fools on the USS Trutanich) will switch to that race and give L.A. a chance to get some needed redemption.
    Antonio won’t run for Controller. First, he can’t spell it, and second it doesn’t come with a rent free mansion.

  10. Anonymous says:

    He has nothing to lose, and he always ends up smelling like a rose…Villaraigosa for Gov, Senate, or President, it doesn’t matter, he deserves the roles…remember he’s paid his dues..Now is the time for the first Hispanic-American President…being from California, he will bring home the goodies…All hail my liege!
    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
    —Voltaire

  11. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry Obama will win again, the Republicans do not want the job, they will wait until the economic downturn wanes, The Reps don’t know how to clean up their own mess…You ever observe how a group of kindergarten students cooperate and build a magnificent structure made of blocks, then all of sudden one kid from out of nowhere knocks the structure down, then leaves…”Well” enough said.

  12. Anonymous says:

    To the last comment: What nonsense. You
    Democrats do not always have the best plans
    for our country. There are two sides to every
    problem and solution. Having a discussion does
    not mean winning or losing, it means it is important and needs careful consideration.
    Grow up! You are not in a playground situation
    here at all. It is real life for the born and
    unborn Americans who came here to be FREE.

  13. Anonymous says:

    To 5:04AM:
    As both dominant political parties toggle and haggle back in forth over the years…it seems like they got the general public where they want US,…it takes two to tangle…Where would WE be without checks and balances…Basically there are no differences between the Dems, Reps, or Indies…there decisions got US to this economic debacle…
    Just a tidbit of info:
    “The Costs of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life”
    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/50371/francis-fukuyama/the-costs-of-living-how-market-freedom-erodes-the-best-things-in
    Case in point…Speaker of the House John Boehner refused to meet with a concerned citizen of this country; also an elected official, namely Mayor Villaraigosa….IDEAS do not only come from the TOP,….these political incumbents have lost touch with the realities of their constituents….The politicians are public SERVANTS…not LORDS that deal and wield in absolutes…

  14. Anonymous says:

    “The politicians are public SERVANTS…not LORDS that deal and wield in absolutes.”
    I agree. You and I will have an opportunity to
    vote. We must be sure to get out the vote.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “”"Wendy Gruel is a cinch for Mayor. In 2009 she was the overall top vote-getter with 62%”"
    Are you freakin kidding? Wendy Greusome is the last person who will win. You better believe they have dirt on her that will make people’s heads spin. She doesn’t have ONE thing she can say she’s accomplished but being in front of the cameras as much as the Failure of a Mayor. She’s done tons of audits yet as Controller hasn’t collected any money. I’m hearing more and more Latinos are gaining with some jumping over to the Republican party. They were downtown this weekend to cater to the minorities. What people need to know is there are a hell of a lot of Mexican Americans who are more Americanized and will not vote for another Latino into office. Look at the thugs and the mess the ones in Office have created.

  16. Zine as Controller - Get me a cup of Coffee says:

    Zine is not interested in internal controls, or accounting policies and procedures. They were never concerned about oversight and holding department managers accountable.
    Capital assets stolen. Capital assets purchased without approval. If there is one thing that I agree with Wendy on is, “each and every person involved should have their pension denied if they were part of the theft at LA City Hall.

  17. Zine as Controller - Get me a cup of Coffee says:

    Zine is not interested in internal controls, or accounting policies and procedures. They were never concerned about oversight and holding department managers accountable.
    Capital assets stolen. Capital assets purchased without approval. If there is one thing that I agree with Wendy on is, “each and every person involved should have their pension denied if they were part of the theft at LA City Hall.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Tony Villar is a game show host pretending to be anything else he can think of.
    Give the man a job on Super Sabato already!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Tony Villar, as he will soon be known, has zero integrity. The bigger the lies he tells, the higher the office he seeks.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Part of Antonio’s divorce settlement was Corina could have her name back. Antonio has to start using his “real name” Villar. Does anyone know when that is suppose to happening? Antonio told the court it would cost the city a lot of money at the time of the divorce to change all the letterheads, etc. I say we should all protest if ANYONE like his good friend Monica Garcia on the school board decides to NAME a school after the Failure of a Mayor. There should be huge backlash if that happens.

  21. In Eagle Rock says:

    For all you Monica Garcia fans, I recently received an email announcemnet about a UCLA Downtown alumni action:
    “10.13.2011 UCLA in Downtown LA
    You’re invited to join UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and fellow Bruins in celebrating the best of UCLA – and it’s all just down the street.
    Help us honor UCLA’s community partners and advocates for their exemplary commitment to improving quality of life in Los Angeles.
    Network with local alumni and continue the Bruin tradition of learning and sharing as part of our amazing UCLA community.
    Honorees:
    Mónica García
    President, Board of Education
    Los Angeles Unified School District
    UCLA Local Legislator of the Year…”
    ///
    ———————————
    A few other awards going out that night as well. Getting some recgnition as the DOWNTOWN LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR seems to be a particularly low bar to hurdle.
    Simply holding office in L.A. appears to be the ticket.
    -Tom LaBonge the 2010 recipient.
    -Ed Reyes the 2009 recipient.
    And so it is that achieving mediocrity in government continues to be a recognized accomplishment- but it’s just been labelled differently.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wayne 7:34pm, LA will not elect as Mayor another charlatan. Wendy`s woman heroe is the corrupt Maria Elena Durazo!! Can you believe that? Well, birds of a feather.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Don`t take it just from Ron, read Marc Lacter`s column on LA Observed.com regarding our silly, childish, egotistical Mayor.

  24. Anonymous says:

    There is only one candidate for Mayor that is not already on the government payroll and planning to enjoy our money in retirement until they die…
    He is Kevin James. He is not part of the gang
    and is 100% American. Vote for Kevin James for Mayor.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Your intro of the Mayor, Super Star and ALL is far too, you go too far.
    “but it’s just been labelled differently,” someone wrote. How true. How true.

  26. Anonymous says:

    All the sour grapes here; remember one thing:
    He’s Mayor and you’re not.

  27. Anonymous says:

    To 4:33 pm:
    More like “The Grapes of Wrath”!
    “The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”
    - John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 5
    “It ain’t that big. The whole United States ain’t that big. It ain’t that big. It ain’t big enough. There ain’t room enough for you an’ me, for your kind an’ my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country, for thieves and honest men. For hunger and fat.”
    - John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 12
    “And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”
    - John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 19

  28. Scott Zwartz says:

    Obama sure knows how to pick them –
    Summer, Geithner, Bernancke, Tony V = The descending spiral of gross incompetence

  29. Scott Zwartz says:

    For the guy who warned about Prop 13:
    You are dead right. Californians always fall for the same trick. If you tell the voters that they are hurting someone, they will vote for anything. It can be kicking kids out of school and depriving them of health care (Prop 187) or it can be gutting the Unfair Practices Act so we have almost no consumer protection (Prop 64), or stopping Gays from marrying (Prop 8), and it can be for sticking it to Commercial real estate.
    They never stop to think that most commercial real estate holdings are small buildings owned by a family or a retired person. If their tax quadruple, they have to raise the rent on all the small businesses, whom politicos profess to love.
    Of course Prop 132 does not affect CRA’s so Bunker Hill and almost none of the other new skyscrapers will be affected. As we see with AEG Stadium and Eli’s $52 M parking garage, if you’re a big wig, then the crooks in City Hall and Sacramento will make a special law just for the billionaire.
    Once people vote to repeal commercial Prop 13, there still will not be enough tax money (since the crooks keep stealing it), and then we will have a campaign against the evil old people who do not pay their fair share.
    Let us all remember who elected and re-elected these crooks — we did.

  30. Anonymous says:

    What the “liberal media” does not want to report is that Villar and the 17 clowns are busting the City unions except (pd and dwo)look how they hammered LAFD. somebody do some reporting.

  31. qwe says:

    What the “liberal media” does not want to report is that Villar and the 17 clowns are busting the City unions except (pd and dwo)look how they hammered LAFD. somebody do some reporting.

  32. Toddy says:

    Not to change the topic, but due to cost of raw coffee beans crashing. One certainly should assume sales of coffee makers and espresso machines to be a popular gift item for Christmas this year. Just Sayin.

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