City News

L.A. Mayor's Choice to Head Embattled Transportation Department, Jaime de la Vega, Drove a Taxpayer-Funded Hummer

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Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Your taxpayer dollars at work.
  • Your taxpayer dollars at work.
The L.A. Department of Transportation has been in hot water lately. Not only have a couple of parking enforcement officers been caught doing porn on-the-job, but city Controller Wendy Greuel recently revealed a special, get-out-of-parking-tickets-free program for City Hall VIPs.

Sensing a crisis, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today named Deputy Mayor for Transportation Jaime de la Vega to take over the DOT's leadership.

That should help, right? Except that this is the same guy who was lambasted by the Los Angeles Times' Steve Lopez a few years back for being a ...

... transit chief who drives a 2-ton monster in a city with notorious traffic and smog.

click to enlarge The H3 is the little Hummer. So there.
  • The H3 is the little Hummer. So there.

Yeah, Lopez couldn't fathom how a man in charge of transit for a smog-chocked, traffic-tortured city would chose a massive SUV -- a Hummer H3.

At least, the reasoning goes, de la Vega should take one of those subways the mayor touts to work. Or maybe try a Smart car or Prius. The taxpayers are footing the bill and paying to fill that thirsty tank.

"It's like having a surgeon general who smokes unfiltered Camels while snacking on Cheetos," Lopez wrote.

No, de la Vega was unapologetic. Defiant even. He refused to speak to Lopez about his ride.

Now, the LADOT needs accountability. It needs to answer to the people. It needs clarity and justice for all. And this is the guy the mayor chooses to run it?

(We left a message with mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton to see if de la Vega still insists on using your money to drive a Hummer. We doubt she'll get back to the second-most-read news publication in the market, however).

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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