Until last week Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had remained mum about L.A'.s billboard fiasco. At a town hall meeting hosted by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils, Villaraigosa pretty much proved that he was completely out of touch with the hot button issue that has rankled residents from Boyle Heights to Silver Lake to Venice.

This sad fact became obvious after a disgruntled resident told Villaraigosa that billboards were becoming a part of the city's infrastructure because the city was incapable of controlling the proliferation. Villaraigosa told the crowd that the city asked the Department of Building and Safety to increase sign inspectors from three to 20.

Okay. Fine. But what irked the crowd was when the Mayor, with a sheepish grin, said: “I think that is another area where volunteers play a role.”

Didn't Villaraigosa realize that the billboard issue has exploded because of community pressure and volunteerism?

Not surprisingly, crowd members got irritated quickly, and told the oblivious Mayor that they were already doing the job of city workers.

Villaraigosa immediately argued that he knew that, but he still

thought, “It is another area where we could and should include


KCET's SoCal Connected in its latest Billboard Confidential series on the issue documented the brief yet amusing exchange brilliantly. Good fun!

LA Weekly