warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Antonio Villaraigosa Plans To "Ride Into The Sunset" After Term

Miguel Arreola |
April 30, 2013 | 4:10 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

What will Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa do after his tenure as the mayor of Los Angeles?

In a recent interview with ABC, he stated:

The perennial question. Ride into the sunset for a bit. I think I’ll work in the private sector, maybe join a speaker’s bureau, if you will. Write a book. Affiliate with a think tank.  And get ready… I love public service, it’s an honor. It’s been a real honor to be mayor of the city that my grandpa came to a hundred years ago. I wanna continue to serve, but a little time for reflection is always good.

But, before Villaraigosa assumed his office eight years ago, he was considered to have the potential to further his political career after being elected mayor. Is it too early for Villaraigosa to “ride into the sunset”?

Many would speculate that it is not. Considering Villaraigosa’s past unglamorous representations in the media, Villaraigosa may have lost many supporters along the way. Villaraigosa has been condemned for rarely being in Los Angeles, his fiscal mismanagement and his apparent appearance as a “playboy.”

A 2008 LA Weekly article showed that over a ten week period, Villaraigosa was only in the city 11 percent of the time. A recent article by the Latino Post has also shown Villaraigosa’s mismanagement of the city’s money. The article reports:

Los Angeles' fiscal situation is a nightmare. Current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has pointed to the fact that there could be a budget surplus of $15 million dollars by 2017-18. Regrettably for Villaraigosa, it is not 2018 just yet, and currently the city is staring down a deficit that could reach $267 million by 2014-15.

Furthermore, the divorce of his wife, Corina Raigosa, in 2007 was due to Villaraigosa’s infidelity. Villaraigosa’s representation as a “wholesome family man” has since been tarnished.

These issues, though, would not seem to be enough to stop Villaraigosa from pursuing a higher office.

It has also been speculated that Villaraigosa has been seeking to attain a coveted position in the Obama Administration. A recent report by Southern California Public Radio speculates that Villaraigosa may have been in Washington, D.C. this past week on a “job interview”. However, the same article quotes Villaraigosa’s response to such claims:

Though many had speculated the mayor would seek a job with the Obama Administration, Villaraigosa sought to quiet that speculation with a statement released back in February. At the time, the mayor said: "I am flattered and humbled by the speculation that has included my name for a possible Cabinet secretary position, but I am firmly committed to remaining in L.A. and finishing my term.”

And the White House’s response:

Earlier speculation had Villaraigosa as a possible candidate to succeed Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary. But over the weekend, the White House confirmed the president's nominee for that post would be Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. And Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker now seems destined for the Commerce appointment.

Others would speculate that this hiatus is exactly what Villaraigosa would need. After years dedicated to the city of Los Angeles, some time spent in the private sector or in a think tank may do him some good. After all, Villaraigosa has not denied his return to office at any point. Villaraigosa, now only 60, has been recognized as one of the more prominent political figures over the past decade, particularly in the Latino community. As for his future, the Los Angeles community – and the rest of the United States – will have to watch Villaraigosa “ride into the sunset for a bit” and wait to see if he ever returns.

Reach Staff Reporter Miguel Arreola here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.