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Mayor's Transit Aide Still Drives Hummer

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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office has always said that transportation deputy Jaime De La Vega's choice of personal car, Hummer's H3, is a private matter. Steve Lopez, who put De La Vega in the limelight on this issue a year and a half ago says it's a public one. Lopez was in the right. And he still is. Yesterday, he "happened to be wandering around the City Hall basement and came upon De la Vega's copper-colored H3 in Space 26, under a sign that says 'Mayor/Council Staff.'"

De La Vega is not a cop, a clerk, a parks maintenance guy or a 311 operator. Rather, he's in a position of political leadership. And with that comes leading by example. No, that doesn't mean he should necessarily give up driving cars altogether, but when your boss' supposed ethos is to be the greenest city in the country, no, the world, being the guy hired for the job of Transportation Deputy, one of the most contentious issues in Los Angeles along with being "green," there is no bigger slap in the public's face than riding around in a Hummer -- personal car or not.

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Leadership doesn't ride into city hall on 14 MPG modes of transportation. Lopez offered $100 to take the vehicle off De La Vega's hands. "But so far, De la Vega has not answered."