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LA to Villaraigosa: Put Up Your Dukes and Fight!

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Last week, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez asked readers if they wanted to see incumbent Mayor Villaraigosa debate his top challenger, Walter Moore, and he reveals today that a resounding 97% say yes.

So if the Mayor reps the people, and the people want the Mayor to put his money where his mouth is (or his mouth where the money is), one might think he'd give his refusal to do so a second though, right?

Wrong. Mayor Villaraigosa's campaign guy Ace Smith came back with this: "We're not going to change our minds." In fact, Smith isn't even sure Lopez's poll means all that much, because Moore, although the top rival, is generally considered less-than-ideal to be Mayor.

But that doesn't stop Moore from taking shots at Villaraigosa: "[Maligning your opponents is] what you do when you've been in office 3 1/2 years, you show up for work 11% of the time and all you do is raise money from people whom you award lucrative contracts." Zing! Still, Villaraigosa says no debating--even with an offer from Telemundo to air it--and that leaves the voters to make their own judgments about his work as Mayor, and his plans for the future for the city. A city, incidentally, Moore hails as "turning into a Third World dump" on his website. Ouch, Mayor V! Say it ain't so! No, really--do the debate and say it ain't so.

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All this refusal in spite of people wanting him to tackle a debate leaves Lopez mulling one very topical point: "I'm wondering what it would cost to make one of those vinyl ads and wrap a giant "97%" around City Hall."