I don’t think there is anything wrong with the mayor taking all those free tickets.
This puts me at odds with almost everyone I know, including blogger Ron Kaye, who wants the mayor jailed.
The ticket affair began with stories by John Schwada of Fox 11 and Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times telling how Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was admitted free to Lakers and Dodgers games, award shows and concerts. There were as many as 80 of these freebies with a value, according to the news reports, of thousands of dollars. Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission are investigating.
State and city laws require gifts to politicians be reported. State law prohibits them from accepting gifts of more than $420 a year. Villaraigosa says admission to such events is not a gift if the mayor is there conducting public business or has a ceremonial role.
I agree. The mayor of Los Angeles is chief executive, political leader, ambassador, chief lobbyist and cheerleader for the city. His duties are much broader than those of other elected officials. His job requires that he attend events in the poorest areas of L.A. and the richest, as well as in middle class neighborhoods. He visits dining spots ranging from school cafeterias to high priced fundraisers in the most expensive hotels.
As for sports, they are an integral part of L.A. life. The mayor should show up at Dodgers and Lakers games, especially the big ones. He should be at concerts, too, the Philharmonic as well as Shakira. Music and sports are important shared interests in this sprawling city and the mayor should encourage them. He shouldn’t have to pull out his credit card every time he attends a high priced fund raiser or opening day at Dodgers Stadium.
The mayor should be everywhere, from churches, mosques and synagogues to festivals, to political dinners, to concerts, to City Hall and the MTA building, to the Oscars and other award events--and to ball games. Attendance at such events--big or small, boring or exciting, simple or glamorous—are part of the job.