Villaraigosa: 'I want to be here' **


I spoke to Jim Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa today, and it's clear both are preparing to go another round. Hahn talked up his record of hiring Chief Bratton, lowering the crime rate and beating secession, among other things. Villaraigosa told a lunch crowd at the Current Affairs Forum that his family has given its blessing for him to run for mayor again, his advisers want him to go for it, and that while a cabinet job in a Kerry administration would be hard to turn down, his heart is in L.A.: "This is where I want to be, and this is where I should be." He wouldn't quite commit, but he slipped in a few sly smiles and said to expect a decision soon (but probably not next week). In an interview afterward, Villaraigosa called the city "rudderless" under Hahn and said the incumbent doesn't seem like he enjoys being mayor.

Rimshot: Villaraigosa asked one of the three L.A. Times reporters at the event about the effect of the recent buyouts and layoffs. Reply: "Last week there would have been four of us."

* And: LAVoice.org looks up which Villaraigosa web domain names remain available and suggests they get on it, ala Hertzberg, Parks and Moore.

** Friday update:
• Times story by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Jessica Garrison: "Villaraigosa 'Close' to Mayoral Bid"
• Daily News' Rick Orlov: "Hahn still far ahead on fundraising"

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