His efforts to fix the finances of the city of Los Angeles have prompted union leaders to criticize him for being out of touch and akin to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa believes that even a younger version of himself would he oppose his current work.
In a talk with Fernando Guerra of the Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University and a member of the board of Southern California Public Radio, Villaraigosa was asked what he would have thought of such financial plans back when he was a union organizer.
“He’d probably be upset,” the mayor said of his younger self.
“Where I would challenge the Antonio Villaraigosa of 20 years ago and even the Antonio Villaraigosa in the Legislature – money is not the only answer everybody. We’ve got to connect money to results.”
As he moves into his last year as mayor, Villaraigosa said that over time he has learned that the world is “a lot grayer.” He expects his legacy to change over time, as people assess his work when he leaves office and then again five years or more down the road.
“People are going to feel one way right after you leave and it’s usually sayonara, see you later. A few years later, they feel a little differently,” he said.
Once he leaves office, Villaraigosa said he expects to write and gives speeches around the world.
“I think you sometimes lose perspective because you act on the world so much (that) you don’t think about it,” he said. “When I say I’m riding into the sunset, it’s not forever.”