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Mayor Villaraigosa Won't Chew the Fat--He's 'all bun.'

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LA Times columnist Steve Lopez had what he thought was an ingenious way to gather the candidates City of Los Angeles voters have to choose from in Tuesday's Mayoral election. His plan was to get them together to chat and to determine "who makes the best French dip sandwich in Los Angeles, Phillipe the Original or Cole's?" he explains in his column this weekend.

Lopez thought the event would "encourage political discourse," really, that the candidates could "chew the fat while chewing the fat." But incumbent and predicted winner Antonio Villaraigosa has been stalwart in his choice to turn down any offers of public debate--even those involving legendary local meat sandwiches. "A spokesman said he was too busy being mayor to judge roast beef." Perhaps he and his team thought Villaraigosa with a face full of sandwich wouldn't make such a nice photo-op.

Who turned out? Walter Moore, Phil Jennerjahn, and David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg (who doesn't eat meat but is happy to enjoy a free tuna sandwich and a grilled cheese) were in. Lopez and the talkative trio dined at both eateries, talking about Los Angeles past and present, Villaraigosa, as well as the candidates' own lives. Zuma Dogg, who met with some legal troubles the very next day, did offer up this clever mouthful: "If the mayor were a sandwich he'd be all bun."