While in Pasadena yesterday, I picked up a copy of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, which is a nicely assembled free publication. What prompted me to pick it up was the cover featuring a mega-watt smiling Mayor Villaraigosa with the word “Success” in bold across the center.
Author Peter Dreier penned a response to the Los Angeles magazine’s “Failure” article framing Villaraigosa’s accomplishments in the political climate of larger failures attributed to former President George W. Bush, the governor, and the state legislature. The first part of the piece tries to put the plight of the city and Villaraigosa in that context. It also discusses many initiatives started by the Mayor that are still being implemented, so we cannot definitively say what the end result will be. Also glaringly absent from the piece is the disappointment that many in Los Angeles and in the greater Latino community have felt regarding the Mayor’s personal indiscretions and news of yet another girlfriend, while his divorce from wife Corina Villaraigosa is not yet finalized. The mayor has been criticized for time spent away from City Hall, but it seems that he has plenty of time for photo ops and dating. This playboy persona doesn’t add to his image of success in my view and doesn’t endear him to many of the more family oriented citizens of Los Angeles.
I do think that the suggestions for what Villaraigosa can do in his second term, as offered by Dreier in the article, are good ones. The four suggestions include: making the city cleaner and greener, attracting more green jobs, push for more housing (especially a mixed income housing ordinance), and making neighborhoods more livable with improved public transit. Hopefully, Villaraigosa will take these suggestions in stride, but many still wonder if he will hit the campaign trail and run for governor instead.