Antonio Avoids Politicaholism

Darry Sragow
Publisher of the California Target Book and USC professor

Kudos to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villagraigosa for having the guts to enter political recovery.

Politicaholism is just another form of addiction. The need to be constantly in motion whether random or directed, the need for that never ending adrenaline rush, distracts politicaholics from fulfilling the commitments they made to the people who elected them to office and even prevents them from acting in their own self interest.

Resisting the siren song of the 2010 governor’s race means that Antonio can wake up every day focused on what’s best for the City of Los Angeles. He can tackle the genuinely horrific fiscal woes facing the city. He can nail down gains on the public safety front and work to create jobs, improve our schools, reduce traffic and the city’s carbon footprint.

In doing so, he will fulfill his promise to make Los Angeles a better city, the promise he made when he asked the voters to put their trust in him. And he will feel better for it.

In the future, a record of political sobriety and success in the Mayor’s office may lead to new opportunities: The U.S. Senate, a major appointment in Washington, or important work in the public policy arena outside of government.

In the meantime, even without Antonio, California’s Democrats will have an interesting choice for Governor. Jerry Brown can be the candidate promising to govern with a strong even hand, based on unparalleled experience as an elected official. Gavin Newsom can run as the candidate of change who will take the state in a new direction. Dianne Feinstein or someone whose name isn’t even being mentioned could decide to give it a shot.

And Antonio Villaraigosa can sleep well at night knowing that he did the right thing for the people who are counting on him and for himself.

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