2009: One of Mayor Villaraigosa's Best Years, According to Villaraigosa
Daily News columnist and city hall beat writer Rick Orlov sat down with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for an interview recently. Orlov came out with this lede: "Despite all evidence to the contrary, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa insists this past year was one of the best in his nearly six years as the city's chief executive."
Citing the loss of LAPD Chief William Bratton, the exodus of 2,400 employees and a massive budget deficit, which "stalled his ambitious hiring plan for the Los Angeles Police Department," Orlov does not seem to believe the optimistic mayor.
Villaraigasa does point out some successes like the passing of Measure R, the transit tax, and the Subway to the Sea plans currently in development (although, both of those are not purely under his jurisdictions). Crime is considerably down, too, though some might point out that Bratton was former Mayor James Hahn's hire, not Villaraigosa's. The Mayor did increase youth employment this summer, recently created a job task force and has been focusing on jobs this past year, which has impressed Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.
Nevertheless, Villaraigosa has suffered a number of losses with voters. His solar power initiative, Measure B, failed in the same election he won reelection with a small margin. He supported Jack Weiss for City Attorney and Chris Essel for City Council--both who lost. It would seem there is a major lack of trust, but Villaraigosa will always have a smile out in public.