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All Over the Map

(AP/Scott Kirkland)

Rocky DelgadilloHair-gel success story

Delgadillo is known for his slick, shiny hair, football-jock build and ability to alienate just about every elected official in City Hall. Classic MAP. He is often the butt of jokes in the press for his admitted delusion that he could one day make it to the White House. No, not as a presidential lawyer, as president. Delgadillo ran for state attorney general and got bounced to the curb by veteran pol Jerry Brown. On his campaign Web site, his bio page may as well have come with a weepy-strings audio track: “Life in my neighborhood was a struggle. There were gangs and violence. Good-paying jobs were scarce. A number of my friends didn’t make it.” Compelling, but by most accounts, Delgadillo grew up in a comfortably middle-class home on the upper hillsides of Highland Park. Naturally, he went to Harvard.

Mario LopezThe triple threat

He acts, he plays the drums, he boxes — oh, and he dances well too. Those dimples and that “I’m really into women” shtick work well for Lopez, a MAP from Chula Vista. I’ve been a fan since he was the permanently smiling but silent drummer on KIDS Incorporated and later played A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell, the Most Important TV Show of the 1990s as far as I’m concerned. With multiple talents and good teeth — MAP mainstays — Lopez is sure to rise further than simply being the runner-up on Dancing With the Stars.

Fabian NúñezMr. Speaker

His charm, magnetism and good looks have always rivaled those of Antonio Villaraigosa, and with all the bad press being lobbed at the mayor lately, Núñez is looking more and more like the heir apparent to the MAP throne. Biographers have waxed eloquent on his fairy-tale rise from Barrio Logan in San Diego — helping out his gardener dad, joining a boxing club — to the top of the political heap in Sacramento. Núñez displayed classic MAP form last summer in Glassell Park when he stormed offstage during a town-hall meeting on the mayor’s school-district takeover plan, poking a finger at then-Superintendent Roy Romer for added emphasis. Things just weren’t going Fabian’s way, and since a MAP must never lose control of a social situation, he felt he had to take action.

Jay HernandezHollywood dream-boy

Hernandez broke new heights in MAP pop status when he made his 2001 big-screen debut in Crazy/Beautiful opposite Kirsten Dunst. In the movie, he played Carlos, a straight-A student and football player from the barrio who romances Dunst’s character, a wild rich girl from Pacific Palisades. In the mornings, his mom makes him eat a huge plate of eggs and beans, then he hops on a bus before sunrise to make it to school on the Westside. Totally MAP. Hernandez is actually from Montebello. Lore has it that the baby-faced actor was discovered in an elevator.

Kevin de LeonThe copycat campaigner

Recently elected to the state Assembly, Kevin de Leon is everything so many want in an L.A. politician: He’s young, handsome and Mexican. Beyond that, it’s difficult to tell what else he was to offer. De Leon ran a campaign emphasizing his ties to Villaraigosa. Much of his literature showed him and the mayor, side by side and smiling wide. One of his mailers looked curiously similar to one of Villaraigosa’s 2005 bilingual campaign mailers: grainy family photos of the candidate with his mother, celebrating an achievement at school, and with his own family. Family values, Mexican-American style.

Gustavo Arellano“¡Ask a Mexican!”

A MAP media mogul in the making, my O.C. homeboy Gustavo last year landed a two-book, six-figure book deal thanks to his wildly popular “¡Ask a Mexican!” column. He’s a workaholic, a proud Catholic, and until recently still lived at home with his parents in Anaheim. How MAP is that?

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