Smooth Politician?

Villaraigosa misses the mark

By J.J. Israel
Published on LatinoLA: February 26, 2003

Smooth Politician?

A couple weekends ago, I had the distinct displeasure of making the acquaintance of political candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for Councilman in District 14.

An attorney friend of mine who works for Legal Aid Foundation in Los Angeles invited me to do precinct walking for Mr. Villaraigosa?s campaign. I went to his Boyle Heights office and felt completely unwelcome. Nobody greeted me nor was I introduced to anybody.

There were five rows of seats set up in the middle of the room. To try and make myself feel more at ease, I sat down in the seat second to the aisle of the last row. I observed a well-dressed Villaraigosa going down the rows, introducing himself to each person seated. Mr. Villaraigosa and I actually made eye contact a couple of times so I was looking forward to his approaching me when my turn came. He completed shaking hands with people in rows 1, 2, 3, and 4. Finally, my turn came. Ready to offer my hand, I eagerly scouched forward. To my dismay, Mr. Villaraigosa did not even look in my direction. He simply turned his head and walked the other way. I was crushed!

Besides feeling left out, I now felt hurt and let down. I asked myself, ?Why should I pound pavement for this man?? So, I got up and left.

When I arrived home, I contacted Mr. Villaraigosa?s office and spoke with one of his campaign workers. I shared my unhappy experience with Paul. Paul felt badly and apologized. Surprisingly, later that day, I received a phone call from Mr. Villaraigosa himself. However, I felt that the conversation only added insult to injury. Instead of offering me a heartfelt apology he just offered feeble excuses as to why he unintentionally missed my row. His explanation was that he was busy and distracted. He also told me that I should not have felt obligated to campaign on his behalf merely because a friend of mine is a supporter. In other words, I should not have bothered to show up there if I was not an eager advocate for him.

I thought politicians were trained to be smoother than this. He came across as an arrogant, insincere man who just wants to be aligned with those who heartily clap him on the back. That is not what it is all about. He unwittingly demonstrated what a self-serving politician he is and will continue to be in the future.

About J.J. Israel:
Ms. Israel designs and manufactures pet jewelry in the Los Angeles area. She also has a background in Psychology and as a Paralegal.

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