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Video: Mayor Villaraigosa Awkwardly Responds To Questions About His Future
This week Angelenos (the ones that bothered to vote, anyway) made an important decision about the city's future in picking Eric Garcetti as our new mayor. But maybe the more riveting question is what will happen to our current, flashy and soon-to-be-unemployed mayor.
In March, the New York Times ran an article speculating about what Antonio Villaraigosa will do once he departs from the mayoral mansion in Hancock Park come July 1, and loses the car, the home and his main source of income. His hopes of landing a cabinet position with President Obama have since been dashed but there was talk that he could run for governor (or another office) or work in private equity.
The LA Weekly ran a story this week that asked some of the same questions but concluded that Villaraigosa is in a much more desperate position:
When Villaraigosa's mayoral run ends June 30 due to term limits, he could use not just a job but one that affords him the multimillionaire lifestyle to which he's become accustomed as a flamboyant public servant. His concerned allies have even determined how much Villaraigosa should earn: About $750,000 a year to replicate the life of luxury hotels, nomadic air travel, taxpayer-supplied Getty House mayoral mansion, thousand-dollar seats at sporting and entertainment events, SUV with Los Angeles Police Department security detail attached and innumerable evenings over fine food and wine paid for by wealthy friends and supporters. "He doesn't have a car to drive," says influential City Hall lobbyist Harvey Englander, "he doesn't have a place to live — and he needs a lot of money."
Villaraigosa got hammered for accepting and not reporting lavish gifts during his tenure, and the Weekly's story suggests Villaraigosa will have a rude awakening when he loses not just his income but the power and connections that come from being in office. Good-government advocate Bob Stern told the Weekly, "It's going to be a real letdown for him in July."A lot of the piece is speculative and some of it comes from unnamed sources. The Weekly itself admits there are some blanks to fill in—it's not clear how much Villaraigosa will draw from his pension. Villaraigosa started off taking this tack in criticizing it at a press conference today: "You notice there weren't many facts in it...or many quoted sources?" He said he liked the sunnier piece in the New York Times better.
But then Villaraigosa continued on in a bumbling, awkward way when reporters pressed him on what his plans were for the future. He told them he had a smile on his face on Day 1 and he still does today: "I'm doing very well and I'm very excited about my future. You're right...so that's just...as clear as I can be...I have no trepidation about my future. But I don't think most people care about my future."
Oh, but we do. It's hard to imagine one of the biggest personalities in Los Angeles politics (not that there's a lot of competition) going quietly into the night. (Although we wouldn't put it past him to channel Benjamin Braddock for a couple months.)
NBC Los Angeles has a video of the press conference: