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Digging into the Mayor's Two Vacations

At the Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown | Photo by Huro Kitty via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
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Some people are a bit suspicious of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's last two vacations. The first, a trip to Africa, was right after his inauguration. The second was to Iceland, ending earlier this month. No matter who you are, you deserve a vacation, right? "Since the mayor is mayor 24-7, he does not accrue vacation or sick time," said spokesman Matt Szabo in an e-mail to LAist. "He has the discretion to take time away from the city as necessary."

But KTLA's Eric Spillman is not buying these vacations and has been poking around, seeing who's footing the bill. He found that the African trip cost $17,341.06, paid for by a the Washington-based foundation called The Academy of Achievement. Because Villaraigosa is most often found with an LAPD detail, even when he travels, Spillman also tried to find the cost of officers sent to Africa, if any. The police balked "citing concerns about the Mayor's safety if that dollar figure was released," wrote Spillman. We'd take a guess that actually means the money spent on LAPD was somewhere around $0.00. Announcing that the mayor will travel internationally without police protection would be a safety issue. That's just a guess, though.

As for the Iceland vacation, it seems some aspect of it was actually related to city business. Spillman's request for public documents turned up one, but the city will not release it, per California Public Records Act. "Specifically, the responsive public record is an exempt communition... given that it would reveal the Mayor's deliberative decions-making processes," explained Gabriel Sandoval, Deputy Counsel to the Mayor.