Where's Antonio? Replacing Parking Meters, Flying to Las Vegas

During a week when former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan co-wrote a bombshell of an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, stating that L.A. would likely face bankruptcy sometime before 2014, current L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa headed out of town for a public relations event in Las Vegas and touted the city's new parking meters.

The week started off, however, with no public appearances for the mayor on Monday, May 3.

On Tuesday, Villaraigosa showed up at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School in Boyle Heights for a 10 a.m. press conference, praising a textbook and computer subsidy program called School2Home.

The program, according to the School2Home Web site, is a statewide public/private initiative for California's 539 under-performing middle schools, not, as far as we can see, something the city of Los Angeles has funded.

On Wednesday, the Riordan piece hit the newsstands, and makes one wonder if federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. are now wary about giving L.A. tons of cash for Villaraigosa's legacy project, "Subway to the Sea."

Villaraigosa, though, kept himself occupied with other things, such as announcing the replacement of 10,000 parking meters at a 9 a.m. press conference with L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge at a doughnut shop in Los Feliz.

"Instead of carrying a bagful of quarters to feed the meter," said Villaraigosa, according to City News Service, "drivers will now be able to pay quickly and conveniently with a credit card."

Villaraigosa is chauffeured around town by an LAPD security detail in a SUV, so he's not one of those drivers who now has to pay $1 to $4 per hour.

From the doughnut shop, the mayor was driven to downtown to speak at the Los Angeles Police Department's annual Fallen Officers Memorial Ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Police Administration Building.

At 1:40 p.m., Villaraigosa was interviewed on CNN, which was followed up with a CNN en Espanol interview at 3 p.m.

Then the mayor was off to Vegas, where he spoke at an event hosted by the Mexican Patriotic Committee of Las Vegas. (It most probably had something to do with Cinco de Mayo, which took place this past Wednesday.) The group was formed in 1980 to help "Mexicans to continue with our

traditions and honor the Mexican Holidays," according to the MPC Web site.

On Thursday, Villaraigosa was apparently working on a rebuttal to Riordan's devastating Wall Street Journal op-ed, which L.A. Weekly's Dennis Romero reports about here. (The Riordan piece could possibly be the biggest L.A. news story of this week, by the way.)

Villaraigosa also found time to attend L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine's eighth annual Z awards at 12:30 p.m.

On Friday, the mayor will spend a good part of his day on the Westside.

At 9 a.m., Villaraigosa will speak at the 2010 California Clean Innovation Conference at UCLA, where "entrepreneurs, investors, and managers (meet) to review current clean

technology trends and commercially viable innovations," according to the CACI Web site.

From what we can tell, these are not a bunch of pure-hearted environmentalists gathering together to save a bunch of trees. Rather, they are big money players who want to cash in on the so-called "greening" of America.

At noon, Villaraigosa will show up at the Montage luxury hotel in Beverly Hills to speak at the Women's Foundation of California luncheon, which is honoring Aileen Adams, the L.A. deputy mayor for the Office of Strategic Partnerships.

That little known agency builds "communication and partnership between major Los Angeles foundations, philanthropists and the Mayor's Office," according to the Office of the Mayor.

Laura Chick, the California inspector general and a sometime nemesis of Villaraigosa's when she was L.A.'s city controller, will also be honored at the awards ceremony. We wonder what they will say to each other, if anything.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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