Warren Olney on Which Way LA? picked up the storyline of the resurrection of Mayor Antonio Resurrection giving hizzoner the opportunity to dance around hard questions as only he can and then gave civic leader David Abel and City Hall apologist, columnist Jim Newton of the LA Times to discuss the resurrection of a failed leader.
Listen here and judge for yourself whether the mayor’s career has been resurrected as the New York Times, Time magazine and Jim Newton have suggested and some critics have scoffed at the notion that he is anything but a failure and great disappointment.
Author and social historian D.J. Waldie picked up the broadcast and the mayor’s new prominence to comment on his blog at KCET, adding these insights to the conversation:
Villaraigosa, unfortunately, focused on results that never solved the conundrum that the machinery of government in Los Angeles presents. Partially reformed by the charter revisions of 1999, Los Angeles remains one of the most balkanized local governments in the nation and among the most opaque to its citizens. Villaraigosa, trained in the “go along to get along” traditions of the state legislature, never understood that the city hall system he headed was suspended in transition between unworkable technocracy and a more humane democracy.
He could have been a contender, but Villaraigosa never understood the system nor did his ambitions ever lead him to envision how that system might be more thoroughly reformed by his leadership. He spoke grandly – in the manner of Sacramento pols – about things a mayor could never do. But he never gave voice to the genuine aspirations of those he led.
Villaraigosa may be moving to the national stage – perhaps as a future cabinet member – but he leaves Los Angeles diminished in what the city might be – not a city of better roads and buses but a place of better citizenship.