The stench of City Hall’s corruption grows fouler by the day even as the mayor who has contributed so greatly to it becomes an ever more visible and important national political figure. It’s enough to give you a laugh – or a cry.
One day, it’s revelations about bribery in Building and Safety or the reckless spending of federal job creation funds for a million-dollar yacht to cruise the harbor. The next day it’s the outrageous salaries paid to DWP workers because of sweetheart contracts or the utter contempt shown voters across the city by the puppet commission drawing new Council district lines.
The ship of the city is springing leaks all over the place, yet the man at the top is on a roll.
Ever since August, when he raised more than $120,000 from the usual sources to pay fines and lawyers’ fees to end the yearlong beating he took over Ticket-gate, Antonio Villaraigosa has resurrected his political career to the point that he now talks about having “no plan” to run for higher office but hasn’t “ruled out” staying in politics after he leaves the mayor’s office in June 2013.
Perhaps Senator Villaraigosa or Governor Villaraigosa resonates for him, at least Secretary of Transportation for a re-elected President Obama.
At this point, it looks like we’ll have Antonio Villaraigosa to kick around a good while longer.
Go back to his speech in August to the Sacramento Press Club when he called for major reform of Proposition 13, saying it’s nothing but a “corporate tax giveaway … at the expense of homeowners” and taunted Gov. Jerry Brown by urging him to be “bold” and show “courage” by doing the right thing.
It was the start of the resurrection of Antonio as an elder statesman, a gutsy political visionary teaching a class in leadership at USC, the head of the National Conference of Mayors advocating on national television for cities and massive federal funding for transportation, and now chairman of the Democratic National Convention.
“I will be reaching out to Latino voters,” Villaraigosa told reporters in a conference call after announcement of his selection.
Who would have guessed that had something to do with it?
You got to give the man credit.
He savaged the public with soaring rates and charges on everything the city does and mortgaged the city’s future by cooking the books.
He has ignored how poverty and unemployment among Latinos and everybody else have gotten worse under his leadership and come up with one slogan after another to mask his well-documented failure: “Greenest city in America…Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…Football is back…”
He has chummed and partied with the rich and glamorous and become the smiley face of politics for the masses and he’s getting away with it.
It is politics as performance art without substance.