It's hard to find a bigger contrast in L.A. than the smile on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's face and the frown Angelenos have been giving him. He's said he's "at a great place" thanks to yoga, his girlfriend and his diet.
As things have gotten worse -- a budget crises some critics say will lead to bankruptcy, his taking of free tickets to the Lakers and other events -- Villaraigosa has maintained his inner "Kumbaya" like a true yogi master.
An ongoing survey of readers at the Los Angeles Daily News website has found so few people giving Villaraigosa high marks that a few votes from his own staff would eclipse them:
The results for his "overall performance" (you have to vote at www.dailynews.com/mayor to see the survey results to date) show 64 percent of online readers gave the mayor the lowest possible of five rankings created by Daily News editors -- "dismal."
We should note here that this is an unscientific poll. It's simply a reflection of those who want to weigh in.
We checked the box that gave Mayor V. the highest possible of the five marks, "super," on each question so we could see the online results without being accused of skewing them for our own amusement.
Speaking of amusing, we would think that Villaraigosa's army of advisers, chock full of publicists at the highest levels, would rally the troops to twist this survey in its favor.
But no dice, it would appear.
In several of the policy categories where the mayor can be ranked, including education, only three or four Daily News readers out of about 200 gave Villaraigosa the top score of "super" -- and that includes our own "super" vote.
His best ranking was in public safety, where 78 percent of the online readers found him to be doing a "dismal" or "poor" job. That's right -- it was his best showing because it wasn't 95 percent "dismal" or "poor."
This is a mayor who has more than 200 people on his staff. His spin-meisters couldn't muster more than three or four votes in his favor -- in all of L.A?
Even on "overall performance," which attracted nearly 2,100 total votes -- Villaraigosa only received 45 votes, or 2.1 percent, for "super."
Here are some of the mayor's other showings:
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Land use: 70 percent "dismal."
Education: Nearly 68 percent "dismal."
Pension reform: Nearly 78 percent "dismal."
Read the rest (and try not to weep) by voting at the Daily News' site.