*Mayor gets free Lakers ticket tonight

villaraigosa.jpgNo word yet on where he's sitting, but I've got a hunch it won't be in the rafters. Villaraigosa says he'll be going "in an official capacity," which means he doesn't have to treat the tickets as "gifts" (even if they clearly are). From the LAT:

State and city laws require politicians to report gifts they receive -- and say who gave them -- and limit the value of tickets they can accept to $420 from any one source in a year. Elected officials are exempt from those requirements, however, if they conduct official business or have a "ceremonial" role at an event.

So answer me this: Why exactly is it necessary for him to attend tonight's game? Is there anything in the City Charter that makes his presence necessary? If, say, he came down with the flu and had to stay home, would the game be called off? Kind of doubt it. All this "official capacity" nonsense is precisely why Villaraigosa has become so unpopular in so many circles: An insistence on clumsily defending the indefensible. He's done it in his failed personal life, in his obfuscations on the city budget, in his stubbornly peddling a mass transit plan that has no chance of working - it's a long list. He has one of the most inelegant political styles I have ever come across. He speaks in vacant phrases and acts in fumbling ways. He responds to questions without actually answering them. And now there's the ticket scandal, which I'm sure he believes will just fade away. More from the Times:

The mayor also said that if the city Ethics Commission sees anything improper in his having accepted free passes to as many as 81 other sporting, concert and awards-show events since becoming mayor in 2005, he would reimburse the ticket donors. "If the commission, after reviewing those documents, determines that there are any that are not sustainable then I will certainly reimburse."

I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

*From a reader:

Presumably, then, since he is mayor, does this mean that he considers anything/everything he does here in town on a day-to-day basis as "official" business: if he goes to a local L.A. restaurant? if he goes to a local L.A. dentist or doctor? if he goes to a local L.A. movie theater? if he shops at a local L.A. market? Heck, why should he have to pay for or declare anything he gets from folks who, for whatever $$reason, are trying to get on his good side??

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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