May 18, 2005

Villaraigosa elected mayor of LA:

A reader writes:

Villaraigosa won, so billionaire developer Eli Broad and the other Westsiders got their man in the job. Villaraigosa could serve them for the next 20+ years, much as Bradley was a useful asset during his long service in office. So much is going to be made of this victory, but little good for the city will come of his election.

The mayor can't fix the totally messed up LAUSD. Traffic problems are a joint concern of CALTRANS, the MTA, AQMD, and other I can't think of right now. Does the city even have the money to fix it's own rotten streets?

A handful of Latino consultants are going to become rich(er) as a result of this victory. Latino pride types will boast of their time having come. Beyond braggin' rights, the average Latino is not going to get squat from this election.

The big losers in all of this will be the local black leaders. The value of their voting block diminishes each day. They may not have the numbers to swing the election in 4 years.

In 4 years Villa will get to claim the credit for new Police Chief Bratton's work, denying Hahn any legacy.

Los Angeles has a "weak mayor" form of government stemming from the Progressive Era of almost a century ago. The Progressives were mostly northern Midwestern Protestants, as was the population of LA at the time, who despised the corruption in immigrant-dominated cities with machine-dominated politics, such as Chicago, where votes were traded for jobs and services. So, they invented a system that would be harder to corrupt and would rely upon the civic-mindedness of the citizens.

Well, today, LA, like Chicago before WWI, is an immigrant city with an uninformed and uninterested electorate. We just don't have the civic virtues anymore to make the system work the ways the Progressives intended. So, control has fallen into the hands of the only people interested and informed: a coterie of a couple of dozen ultra-rich Westside developers like Broad and former mayor Richard Riordan, both of whom backed Villaraigosa.

Under the circumstances, LA would probably be better off with traditional corrupt machine politics. Chicago is doing better with a strong mayor machine system under King Richard II than LA is doing under its old Progressive structure.

Of course, you'll never read about how the new immigration has undermined the Progressive reforms that liberals were once so proud of.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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