Time magazine reports that "until last week, the mayoral tale of Villaraigosa was starting to look like a box-office bomb. In 2007 came revelations of an extramarital affair with a Telemundo newscaster, which seriously hurt his popularity, particularly in the Latino community. His ambitious but ultimately misguided plan for a school-district takeover was defeated in court. A weakening economy and his unsystematic management style led to even more political stasis." Ah, but it's all changed now, the magazine says.
Then last week, Villaraigosa's career got a resurrecting jolt when President Obama appointed him to be chairman of the September 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The choice was a mild surprise, even though the Democrats are focused on preserving their hold on the Latino vote as the key to victory in November — the subject of the latest cover story of TIME. Back in 2008, Villaraigosa had famously endorsed Hillary Clinton over then candidate Obama during the Democratic primaries. While the chairmanship might not hold much real authority, it has already renewed national interest in the mayor, who runs a city that is 48% Latino. And the broader spotlight has allowed him to refresh his local reputation in the City of Angels, a place that hasn't exactly been like heaven for many residents lately.
The mayor's biography — despite its blemishes — remains his strongest asset.
Previously on LA Observed:
Villaraigosa sets sights 'beyond Los Angeles,' NYT observes
Villaraigosa to go after Romney in speech tonight
File photo of villaraigosa with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger