Antonio Villaraigosa poised to be next L.A. mayor

There’s a serious upset about to happen in Los Angeles politics.

The L.A Times, The Sentinel, and The Daily News have all endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa for Mayor in next Tuesday’s election over incumbent James Hahn, a most unusual occurrence indeed. These papers usually don’t agree on politics – the Times is mainstream Democratic, the Daily News tilts populist rightward, and the Sentinel is widely read by African-Americans – however they all agree Hahn, a colorless hack who is rarely visible except when defending himself from influence-peddling charges, needs to go

In 2000 Hahn defeated Villaraigosa by, at the last moment, running a stomach-turning ad that practically accused Villaraigosa of being a gang member. Hahn is up to his usual sleaze again but this time I doubt it’ll work. He has stabbed too many in the back, while Villaraigosa, as close to a genuine progressive as an L.A. mayor could be, continues to roll in the endorsements. Antonio is far from perfect, however this former labor organizer is about to become the first Latino mayor of L.A. in way too many years. Good.

From the L.A. Times:

Hahn’s problem is not just that of a charm-challenged personality. It is not just leadership limited to fixing potholes and adding left-turn signals. Hahn’s lax oversight and flawed appointments have fueled at least the perception that city contracts are for sale to the highest campaign contributor. His kindest critics say he was not “well served” by his lackluster staff.

Villaraigosa’s campaign fundraising has also come under investigation. The county district attorney is looking into whether the head of a Florida company pressured employees to contribute or reimbursed them.

Now Hahn, who is apparently without shame or irony, is running scathing TV ads on the investigation into the Florida contributions. Unable to bring his own approval ratings up, he is trying to bring Villaraigosa’s down or at least discourage voter turnout with this “everybody does it” message. Don’t buy it. These two candidates are not alike.

Villaraigosa’s record, particularly as Assembly speaker in Sacramento, is of pulling together the right people to get things done. The city’s needs keep growing. Villaraigosa as mayor would offer the promise that they would be attacked with relish and intensity. He is the best choice to lead Los Angeles.

In other L.A. news, Miguel Contreras, the hugely respected head of the LA County Fed of Labor died on Friday. (As an aside, he endorsed Hahn and his death perhaps leaves Hahn’s most powerful backer in disarray.)

Green Lisa writes

I worked at the County Federation of Labor on several campaigns and had the privilege to know Miguel a bit. Huge, huge loss for labor. as you’ll see in the article, there is really no one to replace him.

From another L.A. Times story

Leader who restored labor’s clout in L.A. dies

Miguel Contreras, the son of migrant farmworkers who grew to be one of Los Angeles’ most powerful labor leaders and a dominant force in city politics, died late Friday evening of an apparent heart attack. He was 52.

As head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, an association of 345 local unions, Contreras built a formidable coalition, in part by pulling diverse unions together through strikes and contract campaigns.