In this edition of 'Where's Antonio,' we track the mayor of the second largest city in the United States to a Hollywood film shoot. No, he's not lobbying the industry to keep more location shoots in Los Angeles following the news that such production is down by nearly 30 percent. He's not feeding homeless kids or counseling those gang members over on Drew Street that have been such a thorn in the city's side.
No, the mayor will be a about a block away at Andrita Studios in Glassell Park … acting. In a soap opera. That's right folks, as the city's red ink approaches $400 million, layoffs are appearing on the horizon, L.A.'s roads are called the worst in the nation, and the police department is begging for hires, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be spending a day taping an episode of ABC's All My Children. He'll be there Tuesday to play himself opposite Susan Lucci. The episode is scheduled to air Feb. 17. Council President Eric Garcetti is also getting in on the act, with a taping day Thursday and an air date of Feb. 16.
Now, you could hardly blame Mayor V. if he had been on the ball and had a productive 2009. But Mayor V. has been everywhere but at the epicenter of the fight to keep this city afloat. In December he took a nine-day, $120,000 taxpayer-funded trip to Europe, one of many out-of-town visits he made in 2009.
And after years of watching the city's medical marijuana economy grow out of control, the mayor finally spoke out last month against laissez-faire pot shops. Just this month, as the city continued to face dire news about its budget (an aspect of the city's credit rating was downgraded and Garcetti even mentioned bankruptcy as a possibility if the city doesn't get its finances under control), it was the Neighborhood Councils Coalition that called an emergency summit on the city's finances, not Villaraigosa.
The mayor's behind-the-ball leadership is almost grotesque in its arrogance. As the city takes on water like an Airbus A320 on the Hudson River, what it really needs is a leader who's spending his time out of town and at film shoots. It really shows he cares.