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California by the Bay



The Sunday before President's Day, the former fishwrap of record noted somewhat ominously for the south of the State that politics in California have tilted north.

But who can blame Washington for recognizing the trend that Californians themselves recognize? The top political name in Southern California, Antonio Villaraigosa, has been tarnished by the man's inability to deliver jobs to Los Angeles. All throughout his mayoralty, Villaraigosa has been unable to call off the bluffs of a very few self-serving billionaires; he has squandered his tme in office on tinkering with public schools in such a way that the nation only recognizes Los Angeles as a model of hopelessness. A Democrat who mostly supports ethnic-dominated labor unions and who also regularly also spurns Anglo-dominated ones at his puppeteers' insistence, the man most to blame for the diminishing of LA's political status in the State is none other than the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.

But also advance Richard Riordan's name as a close second. Riordan was the first Mayor to tinker seriously with schools; a multimillionaire himself, he chortled with glee when given the opportunity to start shaping LA's top school board with recreational Republican privateers. He also began the practice of privatizing select services in the City, in which very occasional waste was replaced by both waste and fraud, and his chicken little scratchings in the Wall Street Journal have, by flaunting weaknesses rather than working to cure them, made a bad economic condition far worse. Friend to the same billionaires who have made Villaraigosa such an ineffective Mayor, Riordan was the opening act of LA's decline.

And also add the name Steve Cooley, which has come to be associated with Republican politics even though the post he holds is non-partisan. Cooley's partisan rancor in dealing with political ethics cases has only given reactionary Republicans some amused and pettily vindictive moments; but nobody else pays attention. These same partisan tussles are the very moments that most disgrace him Statewide; and they are reason the race for Attorney General last year became so partisan that a little-heard name with little else other than the blessing of the word "Democrat" affixed to it could beat the far better-known Cooley.

And certainly toss onto this pile of decline the name of Fabien Nuñez, a once promising legislator whose name became synonymous with cronyism while his son's crime came to Statewide attention.

While Bay Area pols have held onto the possibility that job creation may come from Silicon Valley or clean or green tech projects, the south has busied itself with economic drains and money pits such as half-a-billion dollar high schools and widespread foreclosure remedy plans. The Latino south's politicians have also maintained a far greater preponderance for scandal and unseemliness that has not tinged the more polite Anglo-elite north. And the south's enormous Orange County Republican base not been much of a factor in Statewide politics, only serving as the top exemplar of pasty white flight crankiness to an increasingly diverse, ecologically and environmentally friendly State. It's not a wonder, given the slips and spills of the south, that post-Schwarzenegger California is all California by the Bay.