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Villaraigosa Announces Staff Promotions: P.R. Reigns Supreme With This Mayor

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday announced a few key promotions and moves among his staffers, including the appointment of longtime media advisor Janelle Erickson as a deputy chief of staff, Romel Pascual as a deputy mayor for environment, and deputy mayor Larry Frank to the mayor's executive team of advisers.

Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Szabo will "lead the mayor's office of communications," adding the job to his other duties, Villaraigosa's office stated.

It's notable to us how many folks in top leadership positions on the mayor's staff don't have serious policy experience nor specific expertise in running global cities but rather come from public relations backgrounds. (Erickson and Szabo are both former spokespeople although, to be fair, Erickson worked as a state political director for Al Gore's 2000 run for president).

Jay Carson, who recently announced he's resigning his position as the mayor's "chief deputy mayor" (yeah, Villaraigosa has a lot of high-dollar deputies), was a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton.

Many of the mayor's right-hand people, in other words, aren't always lawmakers, lawyers or policy wonks with the kind of fine-print skills needed to run the nation's second-largest city. No, a lot of these six-figure folks are spin-meisters.

Austin Beutner, whom Villaraigosa named as his "first deputy mayor" at the beginning of the year, by the way, is a businessman whose claim to fame, perhaps, is his former role as a board member of the company that runs the National Enquirer.

Things that make you go hmm.


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