Following today's setback for the mayor at the appeals court, Michael Blood of the AP bureau here filed a piece pronouncing a new phase in the Antonio Villaraigosa media story. On the New York Times website, it runs under the headline "LA Mayor Struggles With Big Agenda." Copies keep being forwarded to my email box:
His thousand-watt smile turned into a thousand-mile stare when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa learned that Los Angeles lost its chance to host the 2016 Olympics. The episode could be a metaphor for a mayoralty endeavoring to fulfill its promise.
Approaching the end of his second year at City Hall, the midpoint of his term, there's no question the freshman Democrat has given the office a jolt of youthful brio and a sense of purpose that defies its limited powers. Villaraigosa has added hundreds of officers to the woefully understaffed Police Department, and a shaky budget hasn't deterred him from targeting more potholes and extending library hours.
But his signature plan to seize control of local schools – the issue that defined his candidacy – has stalled. He's on a crusade to reduce gang violence, but it continues to take a toll in troubled neighborhoods. LA traffic remains LA traffic.
Plans to remake a forgettable downtown into a 21st century landmark and extend the subway system remain mostly on the drawing board. And a shocking case of homeless dumping – a hospital van left a paraplegic man crawling on Skid Row – was a reminder of the city's long-standing inability to help those most in need.
Villaraigosa will try to regain control with his State of the City speech tomorrow in North Hollywood.
* Wednesday update: LAT also goes down that path.