Ever the Slick Salesman, Antonio Villaraigosa Turned to Twitter to Combat Opponents of Subway to Sea

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Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 1:21 PM

click to enlarge L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
At the Metropolitan Transportation Authority meeting yesterday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wasn't taking any chances that his legacy project -- Subway to the Sea, or maybe we should start calling it "Subway to Westwood" -- might somehow be, uh, derailed.

Around the same time community leaders from Beverly Hills were slamming the subway to his face during public comment period at the MTA board room -- they don't want a tunnel dug underneath Beverly Hills High School -- Villaraigosa's Twitter account was buzzing.

"The westside extention and regional connector will create tens of thousands of jobs and connect downtown and West LA business centers," Villaraigosa tweeted on Thursday morning.

Not too long after that, Villaraigosa, or whoever tweets for the mayor, sent out another one: "Thanks to Bruins for Transit for coming to testify support for subway & #30_10. They want it as fast as possible and I don't blame them!"

After the MTA board voted 10-0 to approve a draft environmental impact report for the Subway to Westwood -- Villaraigosa cast one of those "yes" votes -- the mayor was then sure to slap some backs.

"Thanks to Richard Katz, Mike Feuer, Mark Ridley Thomas, Don Knabe, Denny Zane, Jaime de la Vega and all MTA Board and staff," read one Tweet.

"Thanks to the coalition of business, labor, and environmentalists who showed up today to support the subway and #30_10!," read another.

Villaraigosa was working his Twitter account hard, leaving nothing to chance, but it probably wasn't all that necessary.

Just before the draft EIR was approved, L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, an MTA board member, spoke into his microphone and let it slip that he already knew how everyone was voting.

"We're all voting properly," LaBonge said before the vote took place, "except for my former classmate from Marshall High."

LaBonge was referring to Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who minutes later didn't vote "yes" or "no" but abstained.

If any of the people who spoke during public period were hoping to change the minds of MTA board members, which include Villaraigosa, LaBonge, Los Angele County Supervisors Don Knabe, Zev Yaroslavsky, and Antonovich, among others, they were apparently wasting their breaths.

According to LaBonge, the vote was locked in long before yesterday's meeting.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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