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Election '08

Uh oh, Obama asks Antonio Villaraigosa for Economic Advice

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Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 10:47 AM

By Tibby Rothman

Many Southern Californians were mystified by this news from the Wall Street Journal and NBC's Firstread blog:

The often stumbling Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose city budget deficit has hit a historic high and who has based his economic plan in Los Angeles almost entirely on a single industry — development, emphasizing massive housing complexes, which left L.A. bad off when the housing bubble collapsed — was chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to be on an elite, 17-member economic advice team, including Warren Buffett, that is meeting Obama in Chicago today.

Rumors flew through City Hall that the "all-about-me" Villaraigosa must have worked even more than 16 hours per day to wangle a spot, much as he did when he lobbied hard to get a seat right behind Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Denver so that each time the national networks and cable TV cameras flitted to Clinton's face, viewers also saw the grinning Mayor of Los Angeles.

Here's the list of Barack Obama economic advisors:

-David Bonior (Member House of Representatives 1977-2003)

-Warren Buffett (Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway)-will participate via speakerphone

-Roel Campos (former SEC Commissioner)

-William Daley (Chairman of the Midwest, JP Morgan Chase; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Commerce, 1997-2000)

-William Donaldson (Former Chairman of the SEC 2003-2005)

-Roger Ferguson (President and CEO, TIAA-CREF and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)

-Jennifer Granholm (Governor, State of Michigan)

-Anne Mulcahy (Chairman and CEO, Xerox)

-Richard Parsons (Chairman of the Board, Time Warner)

-Penny Pritzker (CEO, Classic Residence by Hyatt)

-Robert Reich (University of California, Berkeley; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Labor, 1993-1997)

-Robert Rubin (Chairman and Director of the Executive Committee, Citigroup; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Treasury, 1995-1999)

-Eric Schmidt (Chairman and CEO, Google)

-Lawrence Summers (Harvard University; Managing Director, D.E. Shaw; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Treasury, 1999-2001)

-Laura Tyson (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; Former Chairman, National Economic Council, 1995-1996; Former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisors, 1993-1995)

-Antonio Villaraigosa (Mayor, City of Los Angeles)

-Paul Volcker (Former Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve 1979-1987)

As mayor, the light-on-policy Villaraigosa has exhibited little interest in economic policy or initiatives. Long before the real estate market tanked, he was getting hit by City Hall insiders for ignoring areas like biotech that are being avidly pursued in cities like Seattle.

UPDATE at 11:49 a.m.: Rick Caruso will not challenge Villaraigosa for mayor next year.

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