President Barack Obama and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.â€”REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
He says Los Angeles comes first, but others say he can’t win.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villraigosa who ascended into a political star on a national scale after one mayoral term, made it official this week when he announced to a national televised audience that he would not pursue the state office of California Governor.
His answer met with the approval of Angelenos who wanted him to remain in his post, but some questions lingered.
Villraigosa cited the turbulent economic waters of Los Angeles that reflects most of the nation but vowed that he wanted to finish the job of his second term which begins next week as his reason for staying put.
Many polls show the Mayor of maintaining the same modest approval rating of just above 50%- a margin he enjoyed when he was voted to a second term.
But could the most recent poll showing him trailing Democratic candidate Jerry Brown by a small margin of roughly 4% have factored into his decision?
Does he plan to run for the United States Senate in 2012 to replace Democratic Dianne Feinstein?
The Mayor played a significant role in the historical election of the first African American president Barack Obama, and his policies have been favorable towards Blacks and Browns who are at the foundation of his support base.
In the African American community, Villraigosa is viewed as a firm but fair leader and his administration is reflective of the massive population base, or as he explains it Los Angeles is where the world comes together.
His next four years could cement his legacy as one of the great mayor’s in the history of Los Angeles and reaffirm his growing star on the political landscape.
Many of his colleagues applauded him for following through on his second term, but one community leader pointed to his public divorce from his wife and the late hour he was approaching to gather a campaign staff and secure finances as his reason for not running.
“During these challenging times, the City needs stability and consistency. I believe it is important for the Mayor to serve his term and continue to work with the City Council to address our fiscal crisis and continue to advocate for Los Angeles at the State and Federal government levels. With this announcement, the Mayor has made this commitment,” explained Councilwoman Jan Perry.
Many consider Perry to be the Democratic front-runner to replace Villaragoisa when his term expires in 2012.
“Mayor Villraigosa has demonstrated his commitment to solving our economic crisis, which has to be our number one priority as a city right now. It’s great for our city that he’s choosing to focus singularly on serving the people of Los Angeles, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him,” said Council President Eric Garcetti.
Councilman Herb Wesson was in a similar situation when he made a choice not to run for Los Angeles County Supervisor and while he does not agree with the Mayor on all matters, he also commended him for his choice not to run for Governor in 2010.
“I can relate to. I had to make a choice of Supervisor and City Council. The Mayor has come to the conclusion that he will finish what he started and we all have to fix it together. I’m satisfied with his performance and the job he’s done and the relationship I have with him,” Wesson added.
The Rev. Eric Lee, president of the Southern Christian leadership Conference of Los Angeles said the Mayor made the right decision.
“It was a tough field to begin with. It was a two horse race [with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Jerry Brown] and too late to make a successful run,” Lee stated.
“In any political campaign your personal life is delved into too deeply and it would have been hard considering what has happened,” added Lee.
Brotherhood Crusade President and CEO Cherisse Bremond felt, “it’s good for the city of Los Angeles, but bad for the state of California.”
If he is to have it his way he will find a way to impact decisions on the state and national level that will benefit the city he was born in, loves and cherish.