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Mayor's Opponents Call Him 'terrified,' 'crafty,' and 'almost like an old-style mob boss' during a Sunday Forum

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With just over a week to go before the City of Los Angeles takes to the polls to elect--or re-elect--a Mayor, candidates for the job have been participating in public forums to get their platforms and pot-shots out. Yesterday, five of the nine candidates gathered in Tujunga at an event moderated by the Daily News' Ron Kaye; one of those five was decidedly not incumbent Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Villaraigosa has been firm about his decision not to face his challengers in any debates during this campaign, despite a recent informal LA Times poll indicating the people want to see him do so. At the Tujunga event, candidate Walter Moore, an attorney, said the Mayor is "terrified and hiding," according to the Daily News.

But candidate Phil Jennerjahn, an actor, had a different take: "I don't think the mayor is smart. I don't think he is talented. But this man is crafty. He is a political animal...He is almost like an old-style mob boss." The jabs continued: "The guy should not be the leader of the City of Angels," remarked Craig X. Rubin, when discussing the Mayor's affair with former Telemundo anchor Mirthala Salinas.

Much of the ire focused on Villaraigosa's over $2 million in campaign funds; all but Moore do not qualify for city matching funds because they did not raise the required $150,000. Hot button issues continue to be centered on headline topics like illegal billboards and the LAUSD, but, as UCLA's Kia Makarechi reflected on the February 17th forum he moderated, the only candidate with a passionate cause is Rubin, who is an advocate for marijuana legalization.

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Yesterday Villaraigosa opted to attend a morning meeting of Valley Democrats in Northridge, "an event that was more focused on hopefuls for the 2010 governor's race," and to attend the Academy Awards in Hollywood, where one announcer greeted him by saying: "You're always out and about!"