The San Francisco Chronicle takes a hard look at Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, his record and legacy in “LA Mayor Antonio Villarogoso takes on big issues.”
Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa, born Antonio Ramón Villar, Jr., became a Latino superstar, when first elected as Mayor of Los Angeles in 2005. He is the third Mexican American to have ever held the office in Los Angeles, and the first in over 130 years. Many throughout the Latino community had high hopes for the new Mayor Villaraigosa. Yet, his career is plagued with public scandals and disappointments.
I spoke to Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle Political Writer, for the article on the Mayor and the views by some Latinos
“But GOP strategist Bettina Inclan, an expert in Latino politics, argues that the mayor is also “a walking negative stereotype,” citing Villaraigosa’s past personal problems as evidence of a lack of judgment.
“In all his years in office, Mayor Villaraigosa is better known for his personal scandals and ethics violations than for improving Los Angeles or creating jobs,” she said. “Latino voters want someone they can look up to, and Mayor Villaraigosa has routinely come up short.” … READ MORE
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa topped a list of all-time worst Angelenos chosen by online voters on a Los Angeles Times poll.
The Mayor has tried to reform his scandalized image, leading some efforts in LA and taking on a new leadership role as president of the United States Conference of Mayors. He has been an outspoken surrogate for Democrats, using his bilingual skills to make his argument on both mainstream and Spanish-language media. Now with his term coming to a close, many are wondering what is next, as he can’t run for re-election due to term limits.
Some speculate about his role as the next state-wide Latino leader, or something bigger. Yet, when it comes to the Hispanic community, Villaraigosa does not have a clear path in winning their approval. Latinos are not known to vote for a candidate just because that person is also Latino. They want the full package.
The reality is for many Latinos, Mayor Villaraigosa embodies all the things they despise of politicians (and dirty Latin American politics) – lack of family values, cheating, questionable ethics, shady relationships and a perception that being a celebrity is more important than the hard work of being a mayor/leader.
What can we expect if Villaraigosa aims to run for higher office? Let’s just say his past indiscretions will make some interesting opposition ads. Villaraigosa has been involved in several affairs, including one with a Telemundo reporter who regularly reported on the Mayor and another while his wife was undergoing cancer treatment. He recently was the focus of an ethics violation scandal, at the center of “ticketgate,” and has been heavily criticized for his love of the TV cameras, from frequent press conferences to an appearance on a Soap Opera. The media, and voters question his constant traveling, including a $120,000 European trip at taxpayer expense. Many also have concerns with some of his past involvements, such as his role in MEChA.
Goodness knows that in politics anything is possible… but to paraphrase another Latino “celebrity” Villaraigosa has a lot of explain to do if he plans to run for office again.