"It's a weird thing," a California Democratic insider tells L.A. Weekly. "It doesn't make sense at all. Why would he go from Bill Clinton to Hillary Clinton to Steve Bing to Antonio Villaraigosa? Why would he work for a lame duck mayor?"
A weird thing, indeed. But Jay Carson, a thirty-something, transplanted New Yorker who's possibly spent less than a year living in Los Angeles and has worked primarily as a public relations flack for former president Bill Clinton, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and billionaire Steve Bing, is now a brand-spanking new chief deputy mayor for the city of Los Angeles.
While Carson is something of a newbie to the Los Angeles political/media scene, he's certainly been no stranger to the New York press.
Making appearances in the New York Post, the New York Observer, New York magazine, and the New York Times, Carson has been portrayed as a "hard-hitting hipster" who hangs with Bill Clinton and his powerful friends in Las Vegas and may have a movie in the works that's based on his experiences as the "young and brash" press secretary for 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean.
Apparently, these were some of the credentials that wooed Villaraigosa
into giving Carson his plum job at City Hall, where the veteran, out-of-town political spokesman -- not a seasoned, L.A. policy wonk -- will oversee such areas as Education, Housing & Economic Development, Transportation, Energy & Environment, and Commercial & Residential Development, according to a press release from the Mayor's Office.
What's also intriguing about the Carson hire is how it may have happened.
Carson and Steve Bing spent time in Las Vegas for Bill Clinton's birthday party August 10, according to the New York Times. It just so happens that Villaraigosa was also in Vegas on the same day with his newscaster girlfriend, Lu Parker, for the National Clean Energy Summit. TMZ.com, in fact, caught Villaraigosa napping with Parker poolside at Caesars Palace.
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Did some kind of meeting of the minds take place among Bing, Clinton, Carson, and Villaraigosa? It's not hard to imagine. Villaraigosa loves Bill Clinton, and the mayor worked hard for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Whatever may have happened, Carson is here. It should be an interesting four years, if the young buck, and Villaraigosa, actually stay that long.
"It seems that Antonio is setting himself up for a run for something else," the Democratic insider tells the Weekly. "Maybe a run for Senate. Jay has those national connections."
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.