They say that sometimes a leader's job is to will optimism in the darkest of times, like a Federal Reserve chairman saying the economy's alright, a president saying wars are going swimmingly or newspaper CEO claiming that print will make a comeback in 2010.
As such Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says things are going great in the city of Los Angeles, and he displays a greater sense of accomplishment than a millennial kid who just graduated from college and is ready to be your boss. The city faces a $400 million deficit, it can barely hire the cops it needs, entire fire companies (at a station near you) are going dark for a day at a time, it was just revealed that we have the worst roads in the nation, and the city can barely get its head around hundreds of marijuana shops across town despite years of deliberation. But for Mayor V, who just returned from a nine-day, $120,000, taxpayer-funded trip to Europe, it's all good.
"I think this is one of the best years we've had," Villaraigosa told the Daily News' Rick Orlov for a piece published Sunday. "I love my job and I have it three more years."
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The mayor touted out-of-town trips to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento as successful missions to pick federal and state pockets for hundreds of millions of dollars stimulus and tax funds. "I don't apologize for these trips," he told Orlov.
Mayor V.'s omnipresent smile and upbeat tone isn't infectious for everyone, however. The cost of workers' pension funds could undo the city in the future, and deficits could reach the billions in the next decade.
"He set himself up as the vanguard of new political discourse," Cal State L.A. urban studies professor David Diaz tells the News, "and we still haven't seen it."
[Spotted at LAObserved].