Monday, January 18, 2010

The Mayor's Personal Life Is At A Great Place- what's missing here?

One of the more odd pieces of printed material on the Mayor was found this weekend in the L.A. Times. "Villaraigosa's personal life is 'at a great place'
Without the drama of a run for governor or a media frenzy surrounding his relationships, the L.A. mayor seems more at ease both at home and at work."
By Phil Willon, January 17, 2010.,0,2354939,full.story It's one of the fluffiest of fluff pieces that the L.A. Times could have constructed about a subject who thrives on such items.

After reading this, you'd think all was fine with the city so that L.A. Times had to really search for a worthy area to focus upon regarding the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.

Pretty much an item you would expect to find in some sort of Christmas card or press release and this is coming from Phil Willon who gets his paycheck from the L.A. Times and not the Mayor, but you might not believe that after reading this article that does nothing to cast any serious doubts about the Mayor's performance in term one or this one, term two, thankfully his last one.

For about every paragraph here, you could construct some criticism or some counterpoints very easily. The Mayor- and it's an important point, but mentioned subtlely- admits he was distracted by the governor's race that he's given up on. Another "Really?"- As if we didn't know that L.A. was getting a part-time mayor for all that time. And do we know if Antonio was "districted" in his efforts at getting Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket for the 2008 election for President of the U.S.? How about the idea of his shift to Obama when Hillary called it quits after being considered a shoe-in a for that spot a year or two earlier?

You have to remember that Tony V. still was trying to cultivate a relationship with the Obama administration to be picked up for a spot with them, maybe a cabinet position. Many in the Los Angeles City administration WERE invited to go to D.C and work with the administration, but Villaraigosa himself was not. That's why he's had to fill a lot of spots in L.A. as noted in the story- but that reason was not indicated in the story.

You see the "family" importance being mentioned, but the immediate family is nearly all grown
and it's a case of too little, too late when you talk about connecting with your children. And why? That Political Career that swept up Tony V. and left little room for anything that did not work to feed that insatiable thirst for power, praise and attention.

Too bad that Phil Willon didn't try to balance some of the realities of the city with the points that he mentioned. "Meatless Mondays?" I think we could expect a lot of people in the city to be experiencing that, too, along with some of the other days of the week. In their cases, it would be due to a lack of money available more than some health regimen that's been adopted by the people. With the pairing up of the Mayor with Lu Parker of Channel 5's news department, you would expect something of substance to be written. The influence of Parker on the Mayor has done not one bit of good for getting him to be serious about helping the city residents and businesses and leaving the photo op and center-of-attention stuff alone.

The story would leave you with the idea that all is well with the world, with Tony, his family, and the City. Aside from the well-known straying from the marriage during his career that lead to the divorce filing, the Mayor's actions continue to be a series of contradictions to what we see in real life situations. The only thing that we can be glad about that was mentioned in the story is that this second term is his last one. Re-elected to a second term by a bare majority of one of the slimmest voter turnouts just doesn't say much for "having the support" of the people. And I have read that the mayor's "staff" has grown to almost 200 persons from less than 100 when he started out. Any explanation? Of course one will be created if needed, but really, it's all about his importance being raised commensurate with the numbers serving him from my observation here.

Now if Villaraigosa would try to get a grip on the issues and stick to that job instead of being a camera-hound, that energy might lead to some re-direction of the City to accomplish some solutions. All of this is not any new thought. It had just been ignored by the Mayor and the Council member for years when they could have had a jump on fixiing things BEFORE they slid so far and heavily downhill. Talk about the rain sending down mud from the hillsides in the burn areas of the county in this rainy spell, the worsening of city conditions were allowed to fester and to get a real foothold so that remedies that your politicians preach of, the "serious" steps needed, and so on, have become very crucial indeed. Working on things sooner might have done a lot to lessen the current near-bankruptcy of the city.

I noticed today that the local Public Library branch hours have been cut down on Fridays. This is probably not going to stop there. That's a small taste of what we are headed for very soon. The story in the Times is just weird when you consider all the crap there is out there that needs attention from city officials to keep things from going over the cliff. But I guess there's at least one person in the city who's really feeling good about where he's at.

And with all his travels, including three international trips since the July second-term inauguration, not to mention all of his first-term travels where he earned the LA Weekly's story title, "The 11% Mayor" for working so little on actual city business, we wondered where he was, too.

When you listen to him now, he's really having some difficulty getting out his verbal version of anything. When you might expect that a lot of things would be on the tip of his tongue, he's acting like he's searching for an answer to some obscure topic that's testing his recall instead of items that he's been preparing to present. Listen to the recent news audio clips and it is not the realm of an artful and agile speaker that can handle any topic on the fly. We know he detested being challenged in question and answer session unless they were heavily scripted, completely rejecting appearing at any debates during the mayor's race for his second term, but now he really has no challenger and the content of his words is becoming of secondary interest to the actual reason for these speech problems. That is a very different situation from the creation of the L.A. Times article, but it's also a curious situation that is becoming increasingly apparent. The plain act of cutting down on speaking opportunities might help all around for a lot of reasons.

[Note: A Little History/Background-
There was a response to the September 2008 "11% Mayor story" on December 26, 2008 in the L.A. Daily News story by Ric Orlov. The Mayor's response was then addressed in another L.A. Weekly story. "Villaraigosa, the All About Me Mayor, Is Still 11 Percent There." By Patrick Range McDonald, Published on December 30, 2008 at 8:17pm

Next, a January 7, 2009 story in the L.A. Weekly wrapped up the jousting between the Mayor's side and the L.A. Weekly's reporting with another very revealing story that's still valid today in it's assessment of the Mayor. In my opinion, the comments also address the failure of the L.A. Times to go any distance to be meaningful in its reporting the facts and views properly. "The 11 Percent Mayor Villaraigosa Lashes Back - Blasting L.A. Weekly, he says we relied on bad facts. Aides say he misspoke." By Patrick Range McDonald Published on January 07, 2009 at 4:27pm.

Besides being unable to dislodge the report in the L.A. Weekly as incorrect, the Mayor opened up the issue that he's keeping two calendars, one actual and one for the public's consumption, and that had to be addressed by Matt Szabo, then-assistant to Villaraigosa, and still it was an insufficient and very suspect. ]