I’d never tell Mayor V the real reason I jump at the chance to ride the rails with him. I want to be there when the Big One brings the Red Line to a halt, stranding the mayor and me hundreds of feet underground for days. Under those conditions, I’ll offer him a bottle of water from my emergency stash for every question he answers honestly and completely.

Under treacherous conditions for the whole truth Wednesday morning – the train kept moving – I did my best to help the mayor plot his political future and solve the city’s traffic horrors.

On the subway ride back downtown after the news conference at the North Hollywood station, where he sat in the driver’s seat and honked the horn on one of the new RapidBus Lines, I chided Mayor V for giving his usual, flippant, I-love-my-job response to a radio reporter who had asked if is running for governor in 2010.

“But I really do love my job.”

Fine, so why not say you’ll serve the full, four-year term if reelected in 2009?

“I think you guys are thinking about it more than I do.”

OK, then tell us unequivocally that you won’t run for governor in 2010 and we’ll stop thinking about it.

“I don’t want to because I did that once before….”

True, voters in the 14th City Council district felt abused and lied to when Antonio bailed on them less than two years into his term to run for mayor in 2005.

So, what are your strongest words about your intentions right now?

“I will say this. It would be hard to take me away from this. It’s hard for me right now to see myself doing anything else.”

Sure, I guess I can keep this up until we reach Union Station. Push yourself, mayor. Where do you see yourself working in 2010?

“The best thing I could do is focus on my job and cross that bridge when we get to it.”

OK, fine, we’re in the subway, with no bridges in sight.

The good news: I didn’t lose any precious water bottles.

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