What's new with Antonio and Mirthala?

The happy coupleToday is supposed to kick off the next phase where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa repairs his image with a flurry of staged feel-good events, starting with another photo-op promise to fix a gazillion potholes. So — is his press any better yet? Uhhhh, no. Some pundits seem to be sounding the first notes of a political obituary.

  • George Skelton: "Villaraigosa was heralded as a rising star until very recently. Now he's in danger of flaming out....Turns out he lacked the self-discipline to avoid scandal." LAT
  • Gregory Rodriguez: "In both mayoral campaigns, Hahn aides whispered to me and others about having a 'nuke bomb' about Villaraigosa's alleged extramarital lapses...Having followed his career, covered him and talked to countless others about him in the years since, I am not the least bit surprised by his current predicament." LAT
  • Tony Castro: "Praying for the mayor is her way of handling her anger and disillusionment about his affair - an affront she, like a lot of Latinas, is taking personally. So much of an affront, political analysts say, that it threatens his longtime core support: Latinas for whom Villaraigosa was once the Latino prodigal son." DN
  • Tim Rutten: "Clearly, the mayor would not be in the fix he's in and it's quite a fix without the emergence of a vigorous online media that is reshaping the city's political landscape....Salinas and Villaraigosa have behaved recklessly in an environment that, for better or worse, has become unforgiving." LAT
  • Earl Ofari Hutchinson: "She is not a nameless, faceless woman swept up in an impassioned affair with Villaraigosa. She is a respected and influential newscaster known to thousands of viewers. They rely on her to present an objective and honest appraisal of the personalities and the issues that she reports on. That's not to say that Salinas didn't report objectively about Villaraigosa. It just raises questions." DN
  • "All I can say is that if I were him, I wouldn't make any plans to run for the Democratic nomination [for governor] in 2010," said [Larry] Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State. LAT
  • Chris Weinkopf: "Villaraigosa has so far shown no sense of wrongdoing, let alone contrition. It's ironic, because he should know better than anyone the heartbreak a departing dad can inflict." DN
  • Mariel Garza: "Villaraigosa will do a little squirming, give us all the sad eyes (except maybe a special wink for that cute young reporter on the side), and wait it out until Paris Hilton gets in trouble again and the cameras move on....But Salinas might have to go to Salinas to get a job in Spanish-language TV news after this." DN
  • Editorial: "If Salinas is telling the truth, then the station was guilty not just of violating journalistic standards, but of violating the integrity of one of its star reporters." DN
  • Cartoon
  • Cartoon by Doug Davis in the Downtown News.
  • "While Salinas insists she has conducted herself in an 'appropriate way,' her former lover is fighting for his political life." U.K. Sunday Mail:
  • "He seemed so great, San," says L.A., her voice cracking just a bit. "A great image hardworking, charismatic, so politically adept you know, one of those captivating guys that brings people together and gets things done....And we all bought it." San Antonio Express-News
  • Plus, my commentary on Villaraigosa and Salinas during "All Things Considered" on KCRW Friday is now online and available as a free podcast at and at iTunes.

Zinger of the weekend: "Salinas, the proverbial other woman, loses a lot as well....She's lost her credibility, her reputation and maybe even her high-profile job at Telemundo. After that, not even Rocky Delgadillo would date her." — Mariel Garza, Daily News

Photo: Robert Durrell / LA Times

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