Decrying Washington partisanship, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offered a stinging critique of Congress saying it was like the Italian cruise line with “millions of Americans drowning and the captain’s jumping off the ship” while mayors, who are gathered in Washington this week, “are not as committed to orthodoxy.”
In a meeting with National Journal reporters and editors, Villaraigosa noted that mayors had taken on teachers unions on seniority and tenure and he touted his own “Common-Sense Jobs Agenda,” which includes sped-up infrastructure spending and promotion of tourism among other policies to combat high unemployment.
“We mayors like to say ‘There’s not a Democrat or Republican way to pick up the trash,’ ” Villaraigosa said.
The 59-year-old, second-term leader of the nation’s second most populous city lashed out at Republicans who are opposing a pathway to legal citizenship, noting that President George W. Bush had a moderate position. He said Democrats and Republicans should be able to come together on this issue but, unfortunately, in Congress “the gulf is the size of the Atlantic Ocean.” He allowed that while comprehensive immigration reform is a non-starter for now, smaller bits of policy like the DREAM Act for children of illegals who go to college or serve in the military and visas for highly educated immigrants might be areas of common ground.
Villaraigosa wouldn’t say what he has planned when his term finishes in 2013 but indicated he wanted “time to think” and to do some writing. On the Stop Online Piracy Act that was ferociously defended by the entertainment industry and is such an important part of Los Angeles’s economy and culture, he didn’t take a position on specific legislation but said there ought to be common ground for a bill that protects freedom on the Internet and intellectual property rights.