Report: Villaraigosa Held Back-Room Confab For Assembly Speaker Job Over Bottle Of Wine

Assemblyman Kevin De Leon represents Silver Lake, Echo Park and nearby communities.
Assemblyman Kevin De Leon represents Silver Lake, Echo Park and nearby communities.

It's been years since Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa worked as a Sacramento power player, but that hasn't stopped him from throwing his weight around in statehouse politics. The Los Angeles Times on Monday reported that the mayor last month held a "summit" at the Getty House -- the city-funded, official mayoral residence -- to work out who would get California's powerful assembly speaker job.

The backroom meeting was held over a bottle of wine and ended up with an arrangement that was intended to determine statewide leadership. But so far, the deal reportedly worked out in Windsor Square has not stuck. It might have even backfired.

According to the Times, the two men battling for the job, state Assemblyman John A. Perez, a cousin of Villaraigosa, and local Assemblyman Kevin De Leon, were called to Getty House to meet with the mayor and former speaker Fabian Nunez.

Sources told the paper that a deal was struck: "Perez would seek the Senate seat and De Leon should ascend to the speakership."

But what started as a king-making move on the part of Mayor V. might have backfired as current speaker Karen Bass soon announced that Perez was the favored candidate among statehouse Democrats to take her job. Subsequently, powerful local state Sen. Gil Cedillo vowed to run for Perez's assembly seat in June, a move that could not only knock him off the speaker's perch, but push him out of Sacramento altogether.

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