The Los Angeles Wave's Betty Pleasant, a longtime columnist who knows how to shake things up, dropped one of her signature bombs last night, charging that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's administration is “rife with anti-Black racism.”

Pleasant wrote a short, but explosive item about Villaraigosa's City Hall press conference on Friday for Black History Month, demanding that the mayor explain why there's not “a single senior-level African-American on his staff.”

It'll be interesting to see if reporters who attend the mayor's event pick up on that thread.

Pleasant's column screeches the headline “Hypocrite!” Then she tears into Villaraigosa for not inviting the Wave to the press conference — an oversight that makes no sense at all.

The Wave is an African American institution in Los Angeles that was founded in 1912. It's like Villaraigosa — also known in some circles as the 11 percent mayor — celebrating Gay Pride but not inviting Frontiers magazine to the party.

“Everybody Black has been invited to the thing except me and my newspaper,” writes Pleasant. “Well, that's just too bad, because had I been invited, I would hold my nose and attend so I could ask the mayor, in front of all the media and his bunch of suck-up Blacks, how he could even think of honoring Black History Month when he does not have a single senior-level African-American on his staff and his entire administration is rife with anti-Black racism? How would you answer me, Mr. Mayor?”

L.A. Weekly's Dennis Romero wrote a post around the same time last year about how Villaraigosa snubbed other black leaders, which caused quite the controversy — the mayor also slipped into odd jive talk when giving a speech about Black History Month.

Pleasant writes that she may “crash the thing” anyway and confront Villaraigosa in person.

Hold on to your hats!

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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