Mayor Villaraigosa stumped for fading Democratic contender Phil Angelides today in San Francisco and in South Los Angeles, but it was the mayor's quick thinking this afternoon at Foshay Learning Center that people were talking about. Midway through Angelides' remarks about becoming the next governor, one of the students standing on stage as a backdrop to the political speeches fell faint. When she collapsed, the mayor and other adults huddled around the girl. After a long minute of silence in the auditorium, Villaraigosa rose from the huddle with the girl in his arms and headed for the exit. As aides crashed the door open, the mayor carried the girl to a shaded lunch area, set her down on a table top and took off his suit coat for her to recline on. School officials moved in at that point, and the politicians returned to their speeches — and applause for the mayor. "She's fine," Villaraigosa said after meeting in the nurse's office later with the girl's mother and paramedics, who showed up in force: two LAFD rescue ambulances and a supervisor, no doubt inspired by the presence of the mayor and by firefighters union president Pat McOsker.
Otherwise, it was your standard Democratic Party-slash-union rally inside a Los Angeles public school. Angelides signs covered the stage. Union reps from the pipe fitters, electrical workers and UTLA filled the front rows. Outside, the Foshay band and cheerleaders greeted Angelides, Villaraigosa and San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Inside the auditorium, students stood on stage while Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas brought up County Federation of Labor boss Maria Elena Durazo, who introduced Villaraigosa and Angelides. It's perhaps surprising that only one student went down. With a scheduled start at 1:15 pm, the pols didn't arrive from San Francisco until 2 pm. Villaraigosa's rock-star reception took another ten minutes or, and the mayor didn't begin to lead students in the "I am Somebody" chant until 2:30. For the scripted part of the show, he denied there was any delay in his endorsement of Angelides, saying the plan was always to get on board the campaign after Labor Day. "This was not a very difficult decision," Villaraigosa said of the endorsement.
* Noted: LAFD says that a second girl at Foshay became ill about the same time and was taken to the hospital by paramedics. The girl helped by Villaraigosa was released to her mother at school.
** Partisan issue: Local media pick up on the controversy overusing the school for an Angelides rally.