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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Mayor in the Valley

I was running an errand in the Valley yesterday when I was contacted by my fellow former Mayoral candidate, David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg. Zuma Dogg informed me that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was having a special invitation-only event in Tarzana in an hour and he told me that he could use his contacts to get us into the event. I thought "Why not? I'm nearby anyway" and Zuma Dogg arranged it with a few phone calls. We arrived at Providence Tarzana Medical Center and found that it was a very small event. A few media people were there, but there were fewer than 150 people present.

Most of the attendees had been at an awards luncheon earlier that day hosted by Council Member Dennis Zine, who was also in attendance. As we waited for the Mayor to arrive (about 15 minutes late) I scanned the room and saw that there were several political powerbrokers there, along with three former Mayoral candidates, (myself, Zuma Dogg, and David Hernandez) and several other VIPs including former Daily News editor Ron Kaye.

When the Mayor arrived he worked the back of the room, shaking hands and greeting others. Dennis Zine was on the microphone at the front of the room getting ready to introduce him when a surreal event took place. Mayor Villaraigosa snuck up behind Ron Kaye and gave him a huge bear hug. It shocked me, as Mayor Villaraigosa had recently been dealt a serious political blow by losing on Measure B in the March election -- a campaign that had been highly driven and motivated by the work of Ron Kaye and the various neighborhood councils. Most people didn't know what to think of this scene. Even Dennis Zine said something on the microphone about it, commenting that "See...the Mayor doesn't hold grudges..!". That was exactly the opposite of what some people in the room had expected.

The Mayor went on to give about an hour long presentation, complete with picture graphs and pie charts. He was actually somewhat impressive in front of a crowd that wasn't exactly buying what he was selling. I personally had to grit my teeth several times to avoid saying anything during his presentation. He gave sad, emotion-filled reasons for City employees to "share the sacrifice" of the pain coming in with the new budget. "We don't want to put these people out on the streets!", he said. To me, it was just pure Socialism headed towards the dangerous area of Communism. So...he doesn't want 2800 City employees to lose their jobs? Boo hoo. What about the thousands of people in the private sector who are losing their jobs also? All of this due to a meddling government that crippled the economy with pure nonsense ideas about interfering in the mortgage industry and forcing banks to loan money to people who couldn't pay. If the government had stayed out of it, the banks never would have given those loans and we wouldn't be in this economic meltdown right now.

Now, the Mayors answer is to jack up the tax rates and service fees on everything and give the government an even bigger slice of your paycheck. I think this is the 100% wrong answer. The Mayor did his little song and dance act and tried to explain things in a convincing manner, but for me....no sale. The Mayor talked about his staff deciding to forgo scheduled raises... but he didn't mention that he has 93 personal staff members and 16 Deputy Mayors, every one of whom takes their paycheck directly out of YOUR pocket. There is a lot of deadwood in this city that needs to be cut. I don't care how many jobs need to go...if those people are ineffective and their presence hurts taxpayers more than helps them, then they need to go. Simply put, less government is better government. But government employees always say they are "crucial". Baloney. Always ask yourself the question.."Would the private sector hire this person to do this job?" Most of the time the answer will be "No." Police and firefighters...yes, they are crucial. Other positions...not so much.

The Mayor took written questions , I assume in an effort to avoid someone grandstanding with verbal questions. He answered them one by one, including two from me, as I had handed them to different aides. I asked him to name one person he had ever fired. He said he had fired 13 General managers. Ok...so he says.
I also asked if he was running for Governor in 2010. He has been asked this before and has always danced around the question indirectly, and he did the same yesterday. One small surprise was how he talked about loving his job here and saying "it would take a lot" to get him to run. I was a bit surprised because he sounded more inclined to not run, but he also says it would be "a great honor" if he was chosen to be the party candidate. So, the door is still open there.

Although I have been highly critical of the Mayor in the past, I did see several things yesterday that pleasantly surprised me.

1) The bear hug he gave Ron Kaye sent the message that he sees their battles as political, not personal. It was nice to see that he can still be friends with Ron even after Ron helped to hand him an expensive defeat with Measure B in March.

2) He was facing a somewhat hostile crowd, West Valley residents and property owners, yet he managed to be charming and polite to everyone and kind of excuse himself out of trouble and issues again and again. He paced the floor with the wireless microphone and even leaned in close to people in the first rows. He called people by name and quoted them and praised them. He happily posed for photos with many of the VIPs on the way out of the meeting.

3) He made the comment that "You never see me on TV trashing my opponents, making comments about them. I don't do that." I thought about it and realized that he was right. He doesn't bash anyone. But...after all is said and done, politics is a rough and tumble sport and people get their feelings hurt. It is unavoidable. I couldn't help but think that maybe that comment had been directed at Zuma Dogg or maybe even myself.

4) He acknowledged his lack of popularity. Talking about the election he said "I won re-election. Maybe I wasn't so popular with some people..." then he gave kind of a half laugh. But it made you realize that the election results had hurt him politically and personally - that he had been rejected by 45% of the voters.

Overall, I think the Mayor did a decent job in front of a crowd that weren't his biggest fans. But I still disagree with him politically on where the City is heading. Far too many Socialistic tendencies are coming out of the Democrats in power in City Hall. They are harming the economy and job growth with their excessive regulations and excessive taxation. They are causing productive people and industries to flee the State.

When the Mayor was leaving the event, Zuma Dogg shouted to me "Phil, did you get to talk to the Mayor?"
"No," I said. Zuma Dogg seemed surprised by my answer. "Why not? He's here..", he said.

"I am ideologically opposed to everything this man does and everything he stands for. What would I possibly have to say to him?," I responded. Zuma didn't answer, but tried to catch up to the Mayor, along with a crowd of handlers and press people.

To this day, I have never formally met the Mayor or spoken to him.

And I'm fine with that.

33 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How about some more slander Phil, like you usually throw out there?

You squandered the 1percent of credibility you'd other wise have.

Nobody cares where you're running around. Maybe you should get a job. The mayor's job opens up in another four years. He ain't resigning, idiot. Take some steroids to boost your voice, too.

April 24, 2009 1:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Ed Boks just resigned:

http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2009/04/ed_boks_out_at_animal_ser.php

April 24, 2009 1:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hahahahaha Phil Gendergone is writing about his day as if this is Twitter, and Higby is snoozing as the shelter gm who was sued for sexual harrassment was fired by the mayor today. Hahahahha dum dum higby.

April 24, 2009 1:37 PM  

Blogger Unafraid in CD7 said:

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 24, 2009 2:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Great story Phil:

1 -- It proves that you're too long-winded for MS.

2 -- It shows that you're also a prick.

3 -- Just because you disagree with the Mayor doesn't mean you shouldn't meet or talk to him. (That just makes you EVEN MORE of a prick)

April 24, 2009 2:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Mayor doesn't have the balls to come to Northeast Los Angeles, his former "home." He's burned so many bridges, screwed his family over, and broken so many commitments, we don't want his sorry ass over here. As soon as possible he'll be crying in his drink in some nothing bar of Los Angeles.

April 24, 2009 2:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

That's a lot of writing to garner virtually no comments! Great job, idiot!

April 24, 2009 3:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Please..how ignorant of that crowd to not show that asshole what a mess he's made of our city. they are either really naive and don't know or don't give a shit. Other parts of the city where he's been like West Los Angeles Alliance NC and in south LA the crowd really showed their disappointment in this asshole. You think they were dumb enough to be gullible to his bullshit?? NOT!! Why didnt' you ask him Phil if he hasn't made up his mind about running for Governor why did he have his Hatchet Man, Ace Smith open an office in San Francisco??

April 24, 2009 3:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The West Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils and HOMEOWNER groups that the mayor spoke before just a few weeks ago?

The one where they applauded him constantly?

How do you read that they showed him their disappointment in him?

We must have been at different meetings.

April 24, 2009 4:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:49p Definitely an Antonio groupie. Everyone who walked out were laughing cause Mayor read from cue cards. People who put him on the spot with questions were cheered. He was a joke. His performance numbers are in the low 20's. The Mayor is getting laughed at because of his incompetence. Every city has laid off emploees except LA and Mayor still has 4 PRESS PEOPLE, 93 staffers, entourage, 5 assistants, PR people, attorneys, consultants, just HIRED ANOTHER DEPUTY MAYOR, DAVID FREEMAN FROM LA CHAMBER (the one who paid for Mayor's trips overseas and political campaigns)

April 24, 2009 7:52 PM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

2:47

I'm a prick? Oh really??

Let me remind you of something....

A few months ago I was running for Mayor of Los Angeles. During the election campaign, Antonio Villaraigosa felt that he was sooooooo self-important that he REFUSED to participate in a SINGLE EVENT(!! ) with any of the other candidates!! It was unconscionable the way he treated the voters of this city! The lack of respect was mind-blowing. He was running for Mayor of the second largest city in America, yet refusing to appear with a single other candidate for debates, interviews, or even a photo op!

Can you imagine if that had happened in ANY other election? Could Barack Obama or John McCain have gotten away with that behavior??? Do you think Gavin Newsom will refuse to appear with Jerry Brown? Or Meg Whitman will refuse to be in the same room as Steve Poizner?? It's insane to give the voters the middle finger, and expect to be re-elected.

That is what Villaraigosa did. And the pathetic Los Angeles media gave him a free pass.

I will never forgive him for the disrespect he showed the other candidates.

And if I ever achieve my goal of being elected to office, I won't forget it there either. I will never go out of my way to do a single thing for him...ever.

I have a long memory. And I know who my friends are.

He isn't one of them.

April 24, 2009 7:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Tony is politician. It would do him no good to "hold grudges." He has no leverage.

His behavior is all part of getting to the next office-
" He paced the floor with the wireless microphone and even leaned in close to people in the first rows. He called people by name and quoted them and praised them. He happily posed for photos with many of the VIPs on the way out of the meeting."How do you think he keeps getting elected? He's an artist and he's a lousy mayor, too, putting us into the predicament and then shifting responsibility away from himself.

All this is leading up to his moves to capture the Democratic nomination for Gov. and it would have to be "captured" since he's done nothing to "earn" it: passing along expense in trash fees for 1,000 more cops that "somehow" didnt' happen. And more fees and taxes come to us. Trying to hit us with the big Measure B whammy? Didn't work, fortunately.

There was no debate and still there is nothing to brag about. He could not bash opponents since he did not really have material to pull it off successfully, and there would be way more highlighting of his faults coming back at him if he did that.

Like the broken clock that's right at least 2 times each day, Tony's got to get a few things right, but he's still bad news for the city.

And I haven't even gotten to his positions on sanctuary city, retention of Sp.Order 40 as is, and his former history as an ACLU figure that was overly zealous in protecting criminal, to the detriment of the law-abiding. He still does that, I'd say, just by looking at his policies and choice of actions and inactions.

His letter writing for pal Fabian Nunez' son for bail on the murder charge was for what? Special favors; he knew nothing of the son's worthiness for release on bail, not knowing the son in any depth, but only father, and that affiliation should have been a big "minus" in the evaluation of Tony's request.

Much more can be added to balance out Phil's apparent view of "rehabilitation" or "repentance," but that's not the correct interpretation of Tony's latest actions. The politician's got to move along as best as he can and you have to give him credit for that personal drive. Just don't vote for him.

In cd-14

April 24, 2009 8:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Ever since Newsom announced this week with his lists of accomplishments his numbers are hitting the roof. Ok watch the ididot Antonio croonies say some bullshit lie. Antonio isn't going to this cause the FEDS are after him.

...Political types are speculating that Mayor Villaraigosa will skip this weekend's Democratic state convention in Sacramento to avoid being outgunned by Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. Antonio's people say he'll be working on the budget crisis: "not going to Twitter while Rome burns."

April 24, 2009 8:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil:

You really don't know shit about politics, do you know that?

NO CANDIDATE appears at a debate or at speaking opportunities if the others have no chance at winning. All it does is allow them to smear him and have him standing there looking like an idiot while its happening. Did you see Arnold (when first running) appear at a debate with the hundred other wackos running?

The closest competitor was 30 POINTS BEHIND! Do you honestly think that Bush Sr. would have debated Clinton and Perot if he was going to beat both by at least 30 points (BTW -- comparing a Presidential election where the final tally was 7 points is a lot different than a mayoral campaign where the difference was 30 points and where the Mayor barely campaigned/GOTV'd.)

It wasn't that he despised you Phil, its that you were nothing to him in the political scheme of things. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't have the balls to go up, shake his hand and say, "I disagree with your policies, but I hope you can make LA a better place to live".

But no... you're a PRICK on a blog instead.

April 24, 2009 8:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil. I think you've shown how naive you are with this outburst against the mayor. Get a grip. Learn the system. You just compared your race to Obama's. Seriously. You claim you don't want to hate the mayor, yet you do it with your whining. Grow up. Get some balls, pick a seat and run again. Run until you win, but learn how it works first.

April 24, 2009 8:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil 7:55 do you actually believe in your mind that your race was like that between Obama and McCain? Do you think your pile of losers, none of whom held any elected office even a Neighborhood Council volunteer job can shine either of their shoes?

You were the most miserable pile of losers -- though Walter Moore did get the anti-Latino and right-wing wacko vote. The rest of you were jokes, laughingstocks, from homeless bum to pothead minister to whatever it is that you think you are.

No way should Antonio have dignified your ridiculous existences by appearing with you BUT he should have gotten out his message earlier. He didn't go on his speaking tour til too late to stem "vote no" tide and his side didn't do enough to get out the opposing vote to older conservative Measure B NIMBYs.

April 24, 2009 10:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The mayor is just so concerned about 2800 city workers losing their jobs that he will raise taxes and fees even higher to save those jobs? Unreal in the current state of the L.A. economy.

We have 12% unemployment in Los Angeles City. That means over 200,000 city residents are out of work in this little town and looking for a job. This situation is just going to get worse. Not better. What Tony V is doing will not help. What does he know about creating jobs? Nothing.

Forget socialism. Tony V is the puppet of the public employees unions that control the government of City of Los Angeles. Most of whose union members don't live in the City and don't give a d*mn about it. What else explains Tony V's behavior.

April 24, 2009 11:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil, No one cares what you did today, yesterday, or tomorrow. You are old news, a political dinosaur.
You belong in a cage so people can see what a Limbaugh hack looks like.

April 25, 2009 12:37 AM  

Anonymous conchita said:

Why so many haters?

Phil gave his opinion and his take on an event most of us were not going to know about.

Phil keep on blogging despite the idiot who posts all the vitriol about Zuma and now you.

It might be the old fool Don Quackers who constantly tries to discredit this blog after being bounced from here.

April 25, 2009 5:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

By the way, Phil, you should not take umbrage at being called a "prick"; afte all, it is the best part of a man and has at least two worthwhile uses.

You could have been called a "c*nt", which would seem to me to be much more descriptive and accurate, but also has three worthwhile uses.

Saltsburg is demented and unable to control his own destiny; what's your excuse?

By the way, I do know the Mayor and have been his friend for decades. He is an entertaining and delightful person, and his personality is first rate. That he is successful and continues to be elected, sometimes against all odds, is a tribute to his political acumen and his personality and political skills.

Yes, he worked the back of the room first, that is often his way, because he treats all with equal respect. Ever seen Jimmy Hahn "work" a room? His way was to talk to one person in a corner all evening and not meet 80% of the people in the room.

The only reason you didn't meet Antonio is because you didn't want to do so. Well, perhaps it was because of the person with whom you were standing...Antonio's sense of smell is acute and he usually would avoid that fool in a public setting if possible.

Find some other gig, Phil. You aren't cut out for this kind of work. You're not even good at figuring out who to be seen with, or not.

April 25, 2009 6:55 AM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

10:43

If you are running for a job as important as Mayor of Los Angeles, you owe it to the voters to show up for scheduled events and answer questions. Antonio gave the middle finger to HUNDREDS of civic organizations that invited him to come to their events. That is why he only got 55% of the vote against 9 men who combined didn't spend 350K on the election.

Many voters condemned him for his actions.
It looked like he was dodging them, and they didn't like it.

If even one of the opponents was able to raise 500K or 1 Million, the race would have been very different. Villaraigosa accomplished very little during his term and had a lot of reasons to hide from the voters.He relied on the power of the unions to muscle him back into office.

April 25, 2009 7:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I am amazed at the animosity on this website. The spweing of hate and rage is not disguised. I think that rage could be better served by sitting down with all the right wing whacko's and helping to find a solution to a better government where neither right or left wing would be considered whacko. Until you all do that- all you're going to have is name calling on a blog.

April 25, 2009 7:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil:

Don't you think that if ANYONE raised 500K or 1 Mil that Antonio would have taken them seriously and actually RAN a campaign?

Money is the Mother's Milk of Politics.

You're a political neophyte in the WRONG CITY TO BE A REPUBLICAN.

I pray to god you run for something else, just to see you get your ass handed to you AGAIN.

April 25, 2009 7:53 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

OMG LOOK WHAT ANTONIO IS Calling Los Angeles...HE'S A FUCKING IDIOT..THOSE DAMN ILLEGALS ARE BRINGING THE SWINE FLU TO LA..OUR TAX DOLLARS ARE PAYING FOR SPECIAL EVENT WAIVER FOR THESE TJ'S.

Fiesta Broadway marks start of Cinco de Mayo festivities
Daily News
A half-million people are expected at the 20th annual Fiesta Broadway in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday in what promoters are calling "the largest Cinco de Mayo event in the world." Covering 24 square blocks of downtown off Broadway Street, Mexican recording artists El Chapo de Sinaloa and Paquita la del Barrio will serve as the grand marshal and the queen of the festival, respectively.
Fiesta Broadway is the unofficial kickoff to the city's Cinco de Mayo festivities commemorating Mexico's defeat of French forces on May 5, 1862. "What an exciting time to be the mayor of Los Angeles — the CAPITAL OF LATINO AMERICA" Antonio Villaraigosa said in a mayoral message promoting the event.

April 25, 2009 8:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"IF" yuo had wheels, Phil, you'd be a wagon.

You don't understand shit about winning elections.

Who cares who comes in second? He's still a LOSER.

April 25, 2009 8:33 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil, it was people like YOU who gave Villaraigosa the confidence he needed to not bother to show up.

You don't have any experience, and you don't have a job.

Why woiuld he waste his time proving anything that you're not already proving for him on his own? You weren't running for mayor, Phil. You were trying to get attention, and you got off on the fact that your girlfriend probably egged you on.

You are so dumb, Phil, that you think "westside Republicans" will ever win anything. How dumb is that? Very dumb. You are dumb. You are an idiot. Keep spending your time at city hall instead of getting work. Go into construction or something. It pays.

I hate villaraigosa, but I'd still vote for him over you. He actually has been a few places.

April 25, 2009 8:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Michael can we have open thread daily please? Pussy Trutanich doesn't want to debate Weiss anymore. AND he's been saying the rank and file support him. NO THEY DON'T. They weren't even asked who they wanted.

"It was disclosed last week that the PPL is running a $252,000 independent expenditure campaign on behalf of Trutanich, primarily with a series of radio commercials. It has drawn a protest from another police group, LaLey, which represents Latino LAPD officers. Arthur Placencia, president of the Latin American Law Enforcement Association, said he believed the league was "playing politics with members' money," and said his group, along with the Oscar Joel Bryant Association representing African-American officers and the Los Angeles Police Womens Association, have endorsed Councilman Jack Weiss.

Placencia said he believed the league should have contacted the other groups before deciding to spend so much on the Trutanich campaign.

April 25, 2009 8:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil:

This is America. There are no free lunches. Just getting yourself on the ballot doesn't make you a viable and equal candidate.

In order to Antonio, or any incumbent, to debate you, you need to have earned that stature by showing that you can be competitive and that you have something meaningful to say on the variety of issues that face the people of the city.

You failed on all counts.

You were, by all definitions, an inconsequential candidate. A fly on the elephant's back.

So stop whining about how Antonio and the voters ignored you, and focus on discussing the issues. You failed at doing that during the campaign, but you can make up for it now.

April 25, 2009 9:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Good and objective reporting Phil. You must have made a difference in your election to cause these keyboard anarchists to get so angry.

Funny to see them boil and spew venom, even when your are paying thier Idol a compliment.

Keep up the good work.

April 25, 2009 10:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil, no one cares that you were on an errand in the valley when zuma dogg the homeless gadfly vagrant who is sadly shilling for sandwiches so long as they're delivered to him and shilling for a place to stay so long as it's private happened to have access to "VIP" seats at a private meeting with the Mayor and offered to include you with a few phone calls and then you went and had your dimwitted opinions but chose not to meet the mayor because of your high standards as you see them but meanwhile you believe the mayor should have shone his media spotlight on your case of fools and appeared at a "debate" which of course would have consisted of a bunch of nobobies attacking his record since none of you have any.

Having summarized your post and self-absorbed idiotic personalized detail in this tedious post, I hope never to see any more. You lost, no one outside of this blog and a few people who would have voted for any Republican including Richard Nixon, know or care who you are or what you have to say. When the Times included a photo of you it was only as comic foil and your 15-minutes are way up.

AND I don't even like the Mayor but I hate fools who mock our democratic process more.

April 25, 2009 1:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

April 25, 2009 6:55 AM:

"...you should not take umbrage at being called a "prick"...

You could have been called a "c*nt"...

By the way, I do know the Mayor and have been his friend for decades. He is an entertaining and delightful person, and his personality is first rate. That he is successful and continues to be elected, sometimes against all odds, is a tribute to his political acumen and his personality and political skills."

LMAO. So being a "c*nt" is worse than being a "prick". This is what a decades-long "friend" of Tony V's is like.

Judge a man by the company he keeps.

April 25, 2009 5:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Yep, I do judge a man by the company he keeps.

For instance, Phil hangs out with Zuma a perosn that can't get himself arrested properly.

He clearly is a c*nt.

April 26, 2009 9:07 PM  

Anonymous g said:

KEEP IN MIND THE MAYOR IS PLAYING YOU FOR FOOLS. HE KNOWS HOW TO WORK A CROWD, HE DIDN'T WIN FOR NOTHING. HE STILL WILL CUT YOUR SERVICES AND RAISE ALL YOUR TAXES AND RATES. THERE'S TWO SIDES TO THE COIN AND HE KNOWS HOW TO TOSS HIS COIN. THIS CRISIS IS AS MUCH HIS FAULT AS THE OTHERS IN OUR GOVERNMENT, WHO DID NOT PROTECT CITIZENS FROM GREEDY BUSINESSMEN AND INVESTORS.

April 27, 2009 5:30 PM  

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