The AP asks if Villaraigosa is a heavy hitter or Hollywood hype — What do you think?

March 1st, 2009 · 19 Comments

We have blogged a lot about Mayor Villaraigosa on this site, arguably one of the most high profile big city Latino mayors in the country, starting with his disappointing affair nearly two years ago, which has cast a cloud over his first term as alcalde de Los Angeles. Now that he is cruising toward a second term as mayor, people are wondering if he will deliver on some of his promises and stay in City Hall or attempt to make the jump to the governor’s office.

As many have noted, there isn’t a camera that Mayor Villaraigosa doesn’t like. He’s always photo-op ready with his big, pearly white, mega-watt smile and designer duds. Villaraigosa is one of the best dressed Latino politicos, but image isn’t everything, especially when the economic forecast is gloomy and he cannot point to any big policy victories. The AP article that came out yesterday asked in its headline, “LA mayor: Heavy hitter or Hollywood hype?”

The following gets to the essence of his record for the last few years:

“Crime rates were heading down when Villaraigosa took office in 2005, and they have continued to decline under the stewardship of Police Chief William Bratton, who was installed by James Hahn, the mayor Villaraigosa defeated four years ago. Safer streets are a cornerstone of his campaign pitch.

However, Villaraigosa’s signature plan to take control of schools was blocked in court, and a one-in-three dropout rate is unchanged. Traffic is considered the most snarled in America, and a badly needed subway extension from downtown to Santa Monica might be a generation away, despite strong lobbying by Villaraigosa.

He promised to plant a million trees in a city starved for parks, but so far only a fraction of that number have gone into the ground. A bid for the 2016 Olympics flopped on his watch. And the mayor’s biggest moment in the national spotlight during his first term was the result of his marriage-ending affair with a TV newscaster.

Villaraigosa regrets his playboy-at-City Hall episode but argues he’s built a foundation for change by hiring 700 additional police officers, helping push through higher sales taxes to fund mass transit, promoting green power and pushing clean-air rules at the polluted port.”

Since the AP did not post this article where readers could chime in with their opinions about Villaraigosa directly. I’m giving you the opportunity to do so. I’m of the opinion that he is full of Hollywood hype, but he will certainly have a chance to become more successful on substantive policy issues in Los Angeles, assuming he does not run for governor. I would like to see him succeed. There is no point in wishing failure upon Villaraigosa, as some in the GOP have decided to do with President Obama. So what do you think?

Photo Credit: NY Social Diary, LACMA event 02/09/08, Natalia Villaraigosa (Mayor’s daughter) pictured with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Tags: Antonio Villaraigosa · Barack Obama

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Mar 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    This is a man of no substance. And shamelessly he seems content with that. So much of his frivolousness is a product of limited intelligence, selfishness, and a mixed bag of values and priorities. He remains completely over his head as an effective leader of a large metropolitan infrastructure, charged with instituting change and maintaining governance supporting the public good.

  • 2 Bearguez // Mar 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Maybe he’s a product of the times. There are so many similarities between Villaraigosa and George W. Bush and the way they conduct themselves privately and publicly. Both are extremely lazy in their approach to the job, and they seem to be completely overwhelmed by the responsibility of their positions. Neither one of them should feel proud of what they’ve done in office; however they seem to live in a universe uniquely their own.

  • 3 Fiesta Freddy // Mar 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Far cry to compare Villar to Bush. Villar is far worse with a lot less responsibility.

  • 4 Anna // Mar 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I’m old enough to remember riots, and the bad behavior of the LAPD, so I don’t think Villaraigosa is doing a bad job.

    What do you guys want him to do? Some of these economic problems have to be fixed at the state and federal level. The Mayor cannot do anything about the number of poor people in LA. Frankly, I wish he would offer them incentives to relocate. Let them be poor in another state. Our state can’t afford it.

    I want him to get that stimulus money and put the employable people to work. I also wish he would eliminate the red tape that makes it so difficult to do busines in LA, a problem that has existed for decades.

  • 5 YolandaR // Mar 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Anna~I want Villarai-Party Boy to go to work instead of the Oscars, Grammies, Playboy Mansion. Hey what about a headline that says “Villaraigosa Favors Poor People with
    Revolutionary Ideas and Efforts.” Sorry I was dreaming and so are you if you believe for a moment Villar is commitment to anything else but advancing his own agenda. Is there any doubt the Mayor of Los Angeles not only lacks integrity in personal life, but unprepared to lead this city?

  • 6 Anna // Mar 1, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    All mayors of LA go to the Academy Awards, etc Don’t be jealous.

    As for the revolutionary ideas and efforts to help poor people, it’s called: working and going to school.

    That’s the “revolutionary idea” that gets people out of poverty.

  • 7 YolandaR // Mar 1, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Anna no way am I jealous of anyone who attends those award shows/parties. My thoughts on that are posted on
    the Undereducated Highly Overpayed Blog. I skipped the Academy Awards show (gave my invitation for the free seats on the main floor to friends, but I attended the Vanity Fair, Elton John Charity Event, etc. Went for the food…anyway I am one of the revolutionaries you mentioned that escaped the poverty. But lets not take up this blog space with such talk. Trust me when I say I know more about the Mayor first hand than you might imagine. MichaelR, Bearguez and Fiesta Freddy’s comments about Mayor LA are on target

  • 8 Anna // Mar 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    If you know more about him, then why don’t you be more specific? I know he had an affair, but what else has he done that’s so bad?

  • 9 Michaelr // Mar 2, 2009 at 11:23 am

    YolandaR: you are wasting your time attempting to have an intelligent conversation regarding any critical analysis of a U.S. Latino politician with Anna. She rationalizes all levels of their public performances by saying if they haven’t been convicted of a crime we should not be criticizing them. She argued Loretta Sanchez’s right to spend 140K of public monies to send those annual Christmas cards of hers, and she defended Joe Baca’s attempts at profiteering at his constituent’s expense through these sub prime mortgages. She believes all negative commentary regarding Antonio Villaraigosa is gossip. It all gets very juvenile with her anyway. And that’s surprising since she slants politicians without a college education.

  • 10 theKaiser // Mar 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Not one campaign promise achieved, all he does is raise taxes, travels all over the world on the Angeleno’s dime, campaigns for Hillary on the Angeleno’s dime, and spends only 11% of his monthly work hours conducting the City of Los Angeles’ business. And Villaraigosa continues to preside over the most inept public school district in the United States. All that behavior is understandable because this job far exceeds his intelligence quota. Life was easier when he was just a bagman for Carlos Vignali, Jr.

  • 11 Gabriel // Mar 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    For those with harsh words about Villaraigosa, just remember that four years ago he was the same person, and yet you probably were enthusiastic about his candidacy and victory over James Hahn. “The first Latino Mayor of Los Angeles” (well, the first… in 150 years) became our headline. Yes, he is well dressed; yes, he loves the cameras and being in the center. And yes, he is enamored with his job. ¿Y que? Is life in Los Angeles better after four years of AV? Do you believe in his beliefs and projects and agenda? (I’d say he didn’t deliver yet complete results, but set a trend of change and grand projects) Remember also that the 987 million dollar deficit of the city comes from the national economic crisis and the debacle over the budget in Sacramento. Que no?

  • 12 Reyfeo // Mar 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Villar needs to go…and i hope the great People of Califas refuse to vote for him another term. My only concern is if they (Californians) all think like Anna, Playboy Villar will survive another 4 years. WHAT A SHAME…

  • 13 Anna // Mar 2, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    MichaelR: “she defended Joe Baca’s attempts at profiteering at his constituent’s expense through these sub prime mortgages.”

    No, I didn’t. I said that Joe Baca was not responsible for the housing crisis, as you and others here were claiming.

    As for criticism of Latino politicians being gossip, much of it is. Rarely can anybody come up with a specific reason why they don’t like someone that has to do with public policy. It’s usually unsubstantiated rumors, as in the case of Loretta Sanchez and her supposed affair. Or Linda Sanchez’s baby, or vague accusations of “corruption” against politicians who have never been accused of or charged with any wrong doing.

  • 14 Michaelr // Mar 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    No one said Joe Baca was responsible for the housing crisis. That’s just you and the lies you like to twist from someone’s comments. I have never written about Loretta Sanchez’s promiscuous behavior. I have seen her inebriated several times, making loud stupid comments, acting inappropriate for a public figure. I am more appalled with her public theft. But this is what you do. It’s all here in this database. You twist comments and rewrite them to the point they become lies. This is what makes you so shameless. And for someone who touts higher education as a means of advancement, it seems to not have helped you in the least.

  • 15 Anna // Mar 2, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Go back and read the old posts and see how people were saying that Joe Baca and Henry Cisneros were responsible for housing crisis (lol). I’m not twisting anything.

  • 16 reenee // Mar 6, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Yikes! Tom Cruise is only 5’7″, so this makes Villasinvergüenza even shrimpier… and you know what they say about some short men…
    …and yeah, I focused on the silliest thing in order to go with the flow of some of your visitor’s comments.
    As for this knucklehead ending up as the governor of this state we should all remember who the governor is now. Obviously, ANYONE can be elected governor.

  • 17 Anna // Mar 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Re: “Villasinvergüenza”

    Does that mean shame? lol

  • 18 WhatThe.. // Apr 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    What Tony Villaraigosa and Tom Cruise have in common is that they both are experiencing untreated personality disorders.

  • 19 Villaraigosa tries acting opposite Susan Lucci! // Jan 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    […] was a “Hollywood hype” or a “heavy hitter” that we subsequently blogged […]

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