When he returned to Los Angeles and became mayor, his appointments read like a Who’s Who of progressive politics: community organizer and former UCLA professor Larry Frank as deputy mayor; Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund attorney and USC adjunct professor Thomas Saenz as legal and policy adviser; UCLA grad and gay and lesbian activist Torie Osborn as special adviser; and environmental activist and affordable housing advocate Cecilia Estolano as head of the Community Development Agency.
The radical magazine Dissident gushingly described the appointments, saying, “Villaraigosa signaled his political loyalties by appointing some of L.A.’s most effective activists to key positions in the mayor’s office, as department heads, and as members of powerful boards and commissions.”
Perhaps the DNC didn’t fully vet Villaraigosa before awarding him such a high-visibility spot at their convention. More troubling, perhaps they did.
Laer Pearce is a veteran of three decades of California public affairs. This piece is excerpted from his book “Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State,” available through on-line retailers later this month.