Maybe it’s not corrupt, but at the very least, Villaraigosa’s use of free tickets is bad judgment.

June 25, 2010|Steve Lopez

Once upon a time in Los Angeles, we had an aggressively dull mayor who guarded his privacy, seldom emerged from his City Hall bunker, and took his sister with him when he went out on the town. Jim Hahn was so shy a guy, I set up a service to recruit potential dates for him.

In a big shakeup, the city made the switch to Antonio Villaraigosa, who seemed determined to prove that he didn’t need my help.

In 2007, Villaraigosa gave us the summer of love, in which the mayor’s weakness for on-air TV news talent led to a bizarre press conference about his troubled marriage.

In 2009, the city’s most eligible bachelor switched from a KVEA personality to a KTLA reporter who was once Miss U.S.A., and I don’t even have to make any of this up.

In his five-year crusade to prove that mayors just wanna have fun, Villaraigosa has been out on the town more than Lindsay Lohan. If there’s a ballgame, an awards show, a big concert, a bank of TV cameras anywhere in the metropolis, he’s there, looking sharp and ready to party.

Which brings us to this summer’s scandal — Ticketgate.

There’s actually another little brouhaha over the just-released news of the taxpayer cost of luxury hotels and fine dining the mayor and his staff enjoyed in Europe on city business last year, but let’s start with the tickets.

According to Villaraigosa’s staff, which had to cough up the goods when pressed by reporters, the mayor was offered a free pass to 100 sports and entertainment events, and may have attended as many as 85 of them, sometimes with family or associates.

Yeah, nice work if you can get it.

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