Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Let him eat cake: Happy Birthday, Mayor Villaraigosa

Los Angeles City Hall gadfly John Walsh with his cake for the mayor.

City Hall gadfly John Walsh wanted to recognize the mayor's birthday.


Antonio Villaraigosa isn't always a popular figure around Los Angeles City Hall.  But John Walsh nonetheless came Wednesday bearing cake for the mayor. 

Walsh, one of the best-known government gadflies in L.A., had stopped by Hollywood’s Red Ribbon restaurant and grabbed a mocha-flavored cake. The icing read: “Mayor Villaraigosa, Happy 60th Birthday."

“He tries to hide his birthday because he wants people to think he’s younger,” said the always-suspicious Walsh, a 69-year-old retired public school teacher.

Walsh added: “Of course, we invited Charlie Sheen” — a reference to the mayor’s recent photo taken in Baja Mexico with the bad boy actor. Walsh himself is something of a bad boy at City Council and other meetings where he often loudly shouts loudly his criticisms.  Here’s a choice clip from an MTA board meeting.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said January 23rd is indeed Villaraigosa’s birthday.  She said he was on his way back from New York where he attended meetings on education reform after being at President Obama's inauguration — including a late-night after-party at the White House. He’ll have a private birthday dinner with family in L.A.  And he has no problem acknowledging his six decades, she said.

“The mayor very publicly and regularly acknowledges he is turning 60,” spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.  “He feels great and plans to work another 20 years.”

What exactly he’ll do remains up in the air.  There are continuing rumors about a Cabinet post in the Obama administration. One thing is certain: this is Villaraigosa’s last birthday as mayor.

Walsh was never able to deliver his $20 cake.  He said he’ll try again at Thursday’s MTA meeting.

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