Some thoughts on L.A. Magazine’s hit piece on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, after checking out the story:
1. The actual piece inside the magazine does not stand up the premise of the dramatic cover. Magazines sell based on their covers, and the “Failure” festooned on Tony V’s image is a boffo piece of art; but the open letter to Villaraigosa by writer Ed Leibowitz is a roundhouse right that misses: it’s a critical but by no means damning assessment of Villaraigosa’s mayoralty.
2. The argument of the piece is illogical, if not incoherent. It boils down to this: a) Villaraigosa has failed to live up to our (Westside liberal) expectations, therefore; b) We want him to stay and continue being mayor instead of running for governor. Huh? Reminds us of the famous book on borderline personality disorder “I Hate You Don’t Leave Me.”
3. Despite the weaknesses of the piece, this is still a coup for Gavin Newsom. Beyond a few hundred political junkies, it’s hard to imagine many people actually poring through the Leibowitz piece; many more, for sure, will likely see the cover image used by Newsom to attack Villaraigosa in his effort to beat him out for the role of chief foil to front-runner Jerry Brown in the Democratic primary.
Which raises the question: Will the local media in San Francisco produce a similar takeout on Newsom, who’s going around the state describing the city under his leadership as paradise on earth?
This was our original post:
Over at L.A. Observed, Kevin Roderick has the scoop this morning on an attempted takedown by Los Angeles Magazine of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s ambitions to be governor. The left-leaning mag, which has long been pro-Antonio — see Roderick’s description of how they handled his own profile of Tony V a couple years ago — has a new issue about to hit the stands with a single word – “Failure” – emblazoned next to a smiling Villaraigosa. (And a subhead that says “So Much Promise, So Much Disappointment.” ) Gavin Newsom’s folks will no doubt have a copy in your mail box by this afternoon, but for now L.A. Observed has the best dish and excerpts. The open letter, by writer Ed Leibowitz, is an indictment of the mayor on a host of municipal items, and basically urges him not to run for governor arguing: “We are bitter because you promised us so much . . . What you now lead is an administration in which politics almost always trumps policy . . . Remind us that you once stood for something more than the political advancement of Antonio Villaraigosa, and that there is some residual greatness about you yet.”