The most delicious of all is that which was forwarded to us this afternoon by a devoted supporter of the Mayor. Though I can not actually link this to being official Villaraigosa spin (it did not come from his office) the following treatise compares Mayor Villaraigosa to legendary New York Mayor Fiorello LaGurdia.
LaGuardia was a hard nosed Republican who lead New York during the Depression and through the end of World War II. He fought the mob, brought jobs to his city and was a middle class hero. Called "The Little Flower" one of the most notable actions of LaGuardia was during a newspaper strike he read the Sunday funnies to children over the radio. Of course, one of New York's major airports was named after him.
So knowing that, you may find the following very rich, while you think of Villaraigosa rattling around Getty House this evening like Norma Desmond.
The La Guardia-Villaraigosa Bond
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa just announced today that he is not running for Governor of California, it's a loss for what would've been a colorful, fun and ultimately successful campaign for Governor by Villaraigosa. But his decision not to run says something about the man who has carefully studied another big-city Mayor, Fiorello H. La Guardia.
If you've ever spent more than 5 minutes with Villaraigosa (watching him nightly on your newscast doesn't count) you would know that our current Mayor of LA, is a student of Mayor La Guardia more than any Mayor in America
Both were firsts, La Guardia New Yorks first Italian-American Mayor and Villaraigosa Los Angeles's first Mexican-American Mayor.(during the modern era)
La Guardia's term was during and post the Great Depression and so too will Villaraigosa's term be with what many historians say is the worst financial situation since the depression.
Both were big on law enforcement.
La Guardia's first call to action was the arrest Lucky Luciano and Villaraigosa's first large budget fight was to increase the LAPD to its highest of highs.
Both crafted strong ethical regimes.
La Guardia ran on an anti-corruption ticket and looked to clean up the ethics of New York, Villaraigosa's first Executive Mayoral order was to require ethics pledges from every city commissioner and staffer in his office. Even going so far to hire an Ethics Czar in attorney Tom Saenz who still brings a clear vision of transparency to City Hall.
La Guardia represented East Harlem while in Congress before becoming Mayor, Villaraigosa represented East LA in the Assembly before becoming Mayor.
The only major difference between the two men is party, La Guardia was a Republican who acted like a Democrat with his support for the New Deal and Villaraigosa is a Democrat who acted like a Republican when he crossed a union picket line (EAA), increased the LAPD (more than a real republican Riordan could ever do) and went against the ACLU in cracking down on crime in downtown LA.
But Villaraigosa relishes his role as Mayor -- anyone who is born and raised here can attest to this City's wonderful attributes. Where in the world can you get some wonderful Galbi in Koreatown for lunch and then eat some equisite Ethopian food for Dinner, a city as diverse as LA can only be a wish come true for anyone who cares about public policy and the plight of the voiceless.
La Guardia was the same way in New York, he rejected immigration quotas, was elected with strong Jewish backing and fell in love all over again with the City he represented. La Guardia's mantra was jobs, jobs, jobs and people of all races loved him for that -- Villaraigosa supports comprehensive immigration reform, has strong jewish backing (see this months Jewish Journal), with a call for jobs, jobs and more jobs (see Measure R-Subway to the Sea) and while some local demagogues may wince, Los Angeles is a City Villaraigosa loves and you can see the evidence every time you see his thousand watt smile.
If you actually ever studied the democratic primary turnout - you would've seen it was for Villaraigosa to take and if you can add up to 4, you'd see that a Democrat (any democrat) will beat any Republican during the general election come November 2010. Villaraigosa knew that, his political team knew that, but its not good enough to be a "good Mayor" Villaraigosa has his sights on being a "Great Mayor".
You're welcome Los Angeles.