We likened the $42,000 in fines Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will have to pay for accepting valuable sports and entertainment tickets from folks who do business with City Hall to a light slap on the wrist.
Well, it looks like the mayor will don kid gloves as his hand is being disciplined with a feather's touch, because he might not actually pay a penny out of his own pocket.
Jack Humphreville reports at CityWatch that Mayor V. has started raising funds to pay the fines. Yep, he wants you (well, not you, but probably more like some of those very same corporate interests who gave him the tix in the first place) to suffer for him. Humphreville:
To facilitate the fund raising effort, our Ever So Clever Mayor has established three Legal Defense Funds: one for the City Ethics Commission and another for the California Fair Practices Political Commission. However, the third Legal Defense Fund relates to the inquiry by the District Attorney who does not appear to be a party to the Settlement Agreement.
And not one to miss an opportunity to tap those ring kissers who can benefit from a well placed friend at City Hall, the Mayor is also soliciting “donations” to his Officeholder Account, essentially his personal slush fund.
Humphreville got a hold of a letter seeking donations for the mayor's blunder. It reads:
We opened legal defense funds on behalf of the Mayor to pay the penalties and his legal bills. Of course, we cannot accept donations from lobbyists or lobbying firms registered with the City, or from MTA contractors. But I was hoping that you might help us raise funds from other sources.
We love the spin, too, with the letter noting that the mayor's ticket gluttony was “unintentional” (didn't he keep going to events even after reporters started asking him questions about whether it was ethical to take four-digit tickets?) and that “the penalty is quite modest.”
Mmm. Modest indeed. Sort of like the per capita income in L.A. County: $26,983. (Well, that's even more modest, we would suggest).
In other news, we're starting a legal defense fund for a recent bullshit ticket we received from the city. If mayor V. can break the rules without having to pay the cost, why should the rest of us suffer?