The union representing Los Angeles police on Friday stated that the mayor of L.A. should be able to go to high-priced events as part of his role as the leader of a major metropolis. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been in hot water for his acceptance of thousands of dollars worth of tickets to events that include Lakers and Dodgers games and Hollywood awards shows.
A statement by the Los Angeles Police Protective League's board of directors backs the idea of the mayor getting out in public as a way to drum up business: "In order to keep the City of Los Angeles' economic engine going, we need our Mayor promoting Los Angeles as a great place to do business and to live," the directors state on the LAPPL's blog.
While avoiding taking sides on whether the mayor is right or wrong in the matter, the union argues that the city should make it legal for a mayor to attend high-profile events:
In our view, the Mayor would not be doing his job if he were not attending the high-profile events that spotlight our City's accomplishments. We understand and support all the reporting requirements now in place, but if the issue comes down to money, then the Council should put money in the City budget to pay for the Mayor to attend high-profile events
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Villaraigosa's acceptance of tickets -- which the Weekly has estimated could be worth $50,000 or more -- is being investigated by the city Ethics Commission, the District Attorney's office, and the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
Under state and local rules, the mayor is supposed to declare the source and value of gifts worth more than $50, and he can't take gifts worth more than $420 from sources who have business before the city.
The company that owns Staples Center, the Dodgers organization, and the group that runs the Academy Awards -- all sources of tickets -- have had business before the city under the mayor's tenure.