Antonio trade-off with Arnold?

first_img Some Democrats, however, are fuming that the appointment may be one more way in which Villaraigosa has politically ingratiated himself with the Republican governor. “The mayor’s the most popular Democrat in the state and with the campaign in the final month and Angelides needing his help, where is he? Out of the country for more than two weeks,” complained longtime Democratic activist Art Pulido of El Sereno, one of the Eastside communities in Villaraigosa’s former 14th Council District. “If there was ever a chance of rallying Latino voters in Los Angeles and California against Schwarzenegger and on behalf of Phil Angelides, it’s right now. Mayor Villaraigosa, as the state’s most popular Democrat and most popular Latino, is the man who should be doing that, and he’s in Asia. “He could have arranged that trade mission at any time. Why did he have to arrange it so that he’d be out of the state for more than two weeks in the final month of the governor’s race?” Villaraigosa said last week that the Asian trade mission – in which he and a delegation of civic and business representatives are touring China, South Korea and Japan – was in the planning stages for more than six months. The mayor had initially intended to make the trip in July but delayed it to deal with legislative demands involving his school-takeover bill. “Is it coincidental for (the mayor) not to be here? It certainly looks coincidental,” said former longtime Democratic consultant Randy Economy. “He doesn’t want to go down with the ship.” A spokesman for Villaraigosa said Thursday that when the mayor returns to Los Angeles on Oct. 22, he “plans to aggressively campaign” for Angelides. Angelides trails Schwarzenegger in the polls, and political strategists believe that the Democratic nominee’s only hope for victory is in getting an incredibly high turnout among predominantly Democratic Latino voters. Polls also indicate that Schwarzenegger’s support among Latinos is lower than the 31 percent of the vote he received during the 2003 recall election. The governor further alienated many Latinos last week with comments he made to reporters, saying Mexicans who immigrate to California may have an especially hard time assimilating because they “try to stay Mexican.” Democrats tried to jump on the comment. Said state party Chairman Art Torres: “Gov. Schwarzenegger has once again shown how out of touch he is with Californians. His comments were a calculated political insult to all immigrants.” But Villaraigosa, preparing for his Asian trade mission, did not make a statement, and The Associated Press reported that his office didn’t respond to requests for comment. Latino activist Bill Orozco, a former member of the county Democratic Party’s Central Committee, is another party loyalist who accused Villaraigosa of turning his back on Angelides for his own present and future political gain. Cut a deal? Villaraigosa has often been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2010, and his chances would improve if there is no Democratic incumbent. “I believe he cut a deal with Schwarzenegger to stay off the governor’s back during the campaign and that it involves his sister’s appointment, the school district bill and him being out of the country at a critical time in the campaign,” Orozco said. Villaraigosa endorsed Angelides early last month in joint appearances with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom – another likely contender in the 2010 gubernatorial race – in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. But Villaraigosa’s endorsement came after a long summer when speculation arose over the coolness between the mayor and Angelides, the state’s treasurer who had refused to support the mayor’s legislative bill to take control of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Schwarzenegger, who during the summer was still struggling to re-establish his pre-eminency as the incumbent in the race, had endorsed Villaraigosa’s school-takeover bill and promised to sign it into law. When the governor signed the bill into law last month, the ceremony in Los Angeles took on the atmosphere of a political rally, with Villaraigosa and the governor celebrating triumphantly. “It’s definitely a rough time (in the campaign) for Antonio to be Antonio and for Phil to be Phil,” said political analyst Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “But it’s especially difficult for Phil, who is being criticized by others in the party … where you have (Democratic) candidates running for office and not invoking the name of the ticket. “He’s so far behind, you have many Democrats running for cover.” [email protected] (818) 713-3761160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Did Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democrats’ rising political star, sell out Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides? Literally? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s little-noticed appointment of Villaraigosa’s sister to a $149,160-a-year judgeship on the Los Angeles County Superior Court has some Democratic Party loyalists accusing the mayor of a familial financial gain in what they say is his failure to aggressively support Angelides. Mary Lou Villar, 52, the mayor’s younger sister, who goes by Villaraigosa’s original name, was appointed to the judgeship in April. Villar, a Democrat who resides in Alhambra, is a former legal-aid attorney who had worked for the past 15 years as an administrative law judge for the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The governor’s announcement made no mention of Villar’s relationship to Villaraigosa, who changed his surname – joining Villar with wife Corina’s maiden name, Raigosa – when they married in 1987. Villar’s appointment has received scant media coverage, possibly because of the difference in her surname and that of her brother. But talk of the appointment has been making the rounds in Democratic circles, where many rank and file still hold out hope that the popular mayor will join a final-weeks blitz on behalf of the Angelides campaign. Villar declined to comment. And a spokesman for the mayor said there is no connection between Villar’s judgeship and Villaraigosa’s role in the gubernatorial campaign. Dems fuming last_img read more