Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's political ambition, lust for the spotlight, desire to take control of the schools and supernaturally white teeth all came in for some playful ribbing at tonight's Los Angeles Political Roast. Highlights included lyrics sung lounge-style by Council President Eric Garcetti, the emcee—with jokes about the mayor living "in the barrio of Hancock Park" and flunking the bar exam—and a video parody with Garcetti providing numerous voices. Most of the city's elected officials attended, along with a large slice of the lobbyist, developer and downtown lawyer class (plus three Times reporters, NBC-4's Paul Moyer and Colleen Williams and Brady Westwater.) [* Garcetti's video "Inauguration Day in Los Angeles" is now up on YouTube.]
Featured roasters were Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, Councilman Herb Wesson, State Sen. Sheila Kuehl—Núñez quipped that Villaraigosa would appreciate the diversity of a Latino, a black and a lesbian—plus DWP chief Ron Deaton. (Selected one-liners from them and the mayor are after the jump.) County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky read his "Top ten reasons why I am glad Antonio is mayor:"
10-Mike Antonovich is not the only mayor in Los Angeles.
9-He will do the job of both mayor and school superintendent on his mayor's salary.
8-He promised me a ride in the Ameriquest jet.
7-When he moved to Getty House, the mayoral mansion, he doubled the Latino population of Hancock Park.
6-He isn't Nate Holden.
5-As chair of the MTA, he takes the hit for the Orange Line busway crashes.
4-He is replacing bottled water given to DWP employees with Corona cerveza.
3-He believes in a no-kill policy for animals—unless they come between him and a camera.
2-He thought the movie Crash was a documentary about his predecessor's administration.
And the number 1 reason why I am glad that Antonio is mayor of Los Angeles: My name is no longer the hardest political name in Los Angeles to pronounce.
Yaroslavsky didn't get off easy either, since Garcetti quipped that next year the roast will include "the top ten reasons Zev didn't pull the trigger to run for mayor." ba-dump-bump
The event, officially a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association, is put on by lobbyist Arnie Berghoff, consultant Harvey Englander and City Council aide Mitch Englander. The crowd of more than 1,200 was the largest in the roast's nine years, no doubt because the mayor was on the bill. The 104-page program could serve as a directory of elected officials and special interests who placed ads congratulating Villaraigosa. There was a surprising number of Brokeback Mountain allusions mixed in with the barbs, as when Villaraigosa said to Garcetti "come to daddy—payback is very painful, my friend." Some other one-liners I could catch in my notebook:
-"His Spanish sucks" (Wesson)
-"Kuehl is the only person in Sacramento who has dated more white women than Willie Brown" (Wesson)
-"His wife thought of putting [Antonio] in Betty Ford for media addiction." (Wesson)
-"He's worked more red carpets than Heidi Fleiss" (Núñez )
-"We all like to kid Antonio about his vanity" (Núñez )
-"He's so sweet he makes 200 new diabetics a month" (Kuehl)
-"Zev has never seen a bridge he didn't burn" (Villaraigosa)
-"This evening is a chance to spend time with people whose calls I didn't return" (Villaraigosa)
-"Playboy magazine named her [Kuehl] captain of the other team" (Villaraigosa)
-"Just remember—I've got a long memory" (Villaraigosa)
Worst garage ever?: The Century Plaza has gone to the unattended, pay-by-machine parking scheme—which means it took some of the city's politicos an hour to exit the hotel's garage. They were scampering between floors looking for machines that didn't have thirty-minute queues, then honking like maniacs as the line for the only two exit lanes ran to half an hour. For this you got to pay $12, or $20 if you didn't pick up a validation card.