Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose term expires in 2013, is interested in running for governor, although he hasn’t stated whether he would run in 2014. “The job I’ve said to people I would like is I would like to be governor of the state of California,” he said.
Villaraigosa didn’t challenge Jerry Brown in 2010, choosing to remain in his job as mayor, where he has served two terms starting in 2005. Villaraigosa was national co-chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and then served as a member of the Transition Economic Advisory Board under Barack Obama.
Villaraigosa is your typical liberal Democrat; he has one set of rules for himself and one for everyone else. In 2007, when there was a severe drought, he told LA residents to cut their water use by 10%, saying, “Los Angeles needs to change course and conserve water to steer clear of this perfect storm.” But then the LA Times discovered that he and his family used nearly twice as much water as the average. When he was confronted with that information, Villaraigosa blamed “gophers that chewed holes through a rubberized drip-irrigation system.”
In 2011, Villaraigosa agreed to pay nearly $42,000 in fines for taking tickets to sporting venues and other prominent events without reporting them as gifts, the highest penalty the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the city Ethics Commission could levy.
Villaraigosa has often taken trips at public expense; he took a trip to Mexico City that cost an estimated $8,600 and was partially paid for by Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that oversees Los Angeles International Airport. A visit to Guadalajara was paid for by the National Endowment for the Arts.
He is the major power broker in the connection between L.A. County Federation of Labor and the city’s Latino leaders, deciding which Latino representatives will win in districts across the state as he consolidates his power. He has consistently rewarded those who reconsider running against his chosen candidates with other positions.
Villaraigosa has been close buddies with Maria Elena Durazo, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, for years. Durazo endorsed Occupy LA and suggested that the Occupiers should stop protesting at City Hall (where her good friend works) and instead target banks. Villaraigosa supported them; his aides even passed out rain slickers to them. Villaraigosa’s socialist agenda has been an open secret for years.
There should be no doubt that the governorship is only one more rung in the ladder for Villaraigosa; he is the chair of the Democratic Convention in 2012, and has surely set his sights on higher things.
And with the socialist agenda he espouses and his history of corruption and patronage, he is the perfect candidate to follow in Barack Obama’s footsteps.