Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this week was ripped by preeminent local urban expert Joel Kotkin in a piece for Forbes magazine that calls the L.A. leader " ... a sometimes charming pol utterly bereft of economic acumen." The piece notes that the city has sunk to near-historic economic lows, ranking near the bottom of Forbes "best city" job-growth rankings, and that it has lost one-fifth of its industrial employment since 2004 (Villaraigosa took office in 2005). Of course, Mayor V.'s not entirely to blame, and there is that whole recession thing nationwide, but Kotkin notes that L.A.'s new-economy shine has become dull under Villaraigosa's watch. The mayor, he says, has been in it for himself:
"Villaraigosa is a poor manager but he is highly skilled at self-promotion," Kotkin writes (and this sounds kind of familiar). "His idea of building an economy revolves around subsidizing downtown developers and pouring ever more funds into the pockets of public sector workers. No surprise then that L.A. suffers just about the highest unemployment rate of any of the nation's 10 largest cities outside Detroit."
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