Sunday politics

Myths of Antonio: In a big blow-out on the Daily News front page, Tony Castro uses psychiatrists and psychologists to analyze Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's exaggerations about his past. Attempts to "compensate for feeling powerless as a child," the shrinks speculate. The news in the piece is that the mayor's estranged father denies he was alcoholic or abusive, has been happily married to his second wife for four decades, and says his son is not named for Villaraigosa.

"God knows that I was never an alcoholic and that I never hurt his mother or abused my family," Antonio Ramon Villar Sr. said in an interview, denying the mayor's long-accepted account of his difficult childhood. "I know the public has been poisoned against me, but this is the truth, so help me God."

Villaraigosa's claim that his father later gave another son the exact same name he had given him also is inaccurate. That other son was christened Anthony Gustavo Villar, and today he is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Anthony Villar, 45, has gone so far as to personally contact Villaraigosa to challenge him on why he has publicly vilified their father, said Estela Villar, Anthony Gustavo's mother and the wife of Antonio Ramon Villar Sr.

The second family of Villar Sr. portrays a husband and father who has been gentle, loving, kind and deeply religious - and who in 47 years of marriage to Estela has never abused either his wife or their four children, nor shown any hints of alcoholism.

"I don't believe a man can change so dramatically in the way he behaved around one family and another," Estela Villar said in a three-hour interview at the couple's Montebello home. "If he were the way (Villaraigosa) describes him to have been, he would have shown signs with our family - and there were none."

Villaraigosa repeated Friday that his mother "overcame unspeakable violence in a home plagued by alcoholism." The mayor's office also said that as a boy he was known as Anthony Villar, hence his pain at hearing his father had given his name to a new son. My new Los Angeles magazine piece on Villaraigosa mentions that episode and that the mayor's mother was remarried during the time he refers to her being a single mother.

Decline of L.A.'s Left: Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez argues in Current that with changes at the Times, the departure of Harold Meyerson (and addition of Jill Stewart) at LA Weekly and, ironically, the election of Villaraigosa, the left no longer dominates public political discourse in Los Angeles.

Although there has been a slight movement to the right in the city's public intellectual climate, the change is more about stridency, relative openness and tone than it is about ideology....The truth is that the intellectual climate is more open than it was a decade ago, more points of view and shades of gray are on the table, and demands for ideological loyalty have subsided. This is not to say that Los Angeles is no longer a liberal city. It is, but the rules of engagement have clearly shifted.

"Our beliefs probably haven't changed," said writer and poet D.J. Waldie, "but we do seem to have learned the language of compromise. Or maybe forces are emerging in L.A. that can't be so easily identified as left or right, red or blue."

Give public financing a chance: City ethics commissioner Bill Boyarsky, writing at his new LA Observed blog, says that only full public financing of city election campaigns would resolve questions about whether developers and other political contributors buy votes.

Montaņez speaks up: Termed-out Assemblywoman Cindy Montaņez tells Mariel Garza she is running for the Los Angeles City Council regardless of whether her political mentor State Sen. Richard Alarcon tries to bump her aside. Guess that means Montaņez, the former mayor of San Fernando, has moved across the city line and is now — at least officially — an Angeleno.

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