Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA Mayor Villaraigosa in DC: talking terrorism and immigration reform

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in Washington for what could be his final official visit to the nation's capitol.

Antonio Villaraigosa is making one of his last trips to Washington as Mayor of Los Angeles. He's here to remind the Homeland Security secretary that L.A. is a terrorism target, too.

When the bombs went off in Boston last week, Villaraigosa recalled standing at the finish line of the L.A. Marathon last month.

"I did think a lot about what could have happened in our own city, " said Villaraigosa, who added that L.A. has beefed up police presence at sporting events.

Now he's in Washington, meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, reminding her that L.A. is the nation's second largest city. It's home to the largest port in the U.S., and Hollywood, he said, is the face of culture in America.

"By every measure, we are the number two target," Villaraigosa said. "And that means we have to have our share of the resources that we need to protect the residents of our city."

Villaraigosa said it doesn't matter if there's a Democrat or a Republican in the White House — when it comes to a perceived threat from terrorism, there's an east coast bias in Washington: "There's always been. There's no question about it."

Villaraigosa is also meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and one of Senate's so-called "Gang of Eight" — Arizona Republican John McCain — to discuss the immigration bill. Villaraigosa said he doesn't like everything in the measure. He called the 13-year process of becomming a citizen "very, very onerous and long." He also thinks the $2,000 in fees are "a lot of money for people who often don't make a lot of money." But Villaraigosa said the Senate bill is a compromise that at least does include a path to citizenship.

Villaraigosa said as mayor of a city where one out of ten Angelenos is undocumented, he's come to get his "marching orders" — asking Senators what he can do to help Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Tonight, Villaraigosa receives an award from Planned Parenthood.

On Friday, he's scheduled to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office. The mayor declined to say what was on the agenda for that meeting. When asked if it was a job interview, Villaraigosa ended the interview.

Earlier, the Mayor had been mentioned as a possible candidate for a Cabinet position. That was before Twitter revealed he was partying in Baja with Charlie Sheen, whom the Mayor later called "a constituent."

There are currently openings at Transportation and Labor. President Obama still has not nominated anyone to replace Ray LaHood, who says he's resigning as Transporation Secretary. Senate Democrats delayed the confirmation vote for President Obama's nominee for Labor Secretary after Republicans stepped up criticism of Thomas Perez's handling of a whistle blower case when he headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

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