Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Boxer says Villaraigosa would make "fine" Transportation Secretary

Democratic National Convention: Day 1

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gets a thumbs-up from Senator Barbara Boxer to be the next Secretary of Transportation - if there's a vacancy.

He's not officially announced he's leaving. But the possibility that Transportion Secretary Ray LaHood may step down is fueling speculation about who might replace him.

This morning, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California told a room full of reporters she  thinks L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "would be terrific" at the job.

Boxer heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which championed Villaraigosa's idea of expanding transportation loans to communities willing to put up their own tax money to pay them back. Congress approved a billion dollars a year to fund the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act - or TIFIA program.

Boxer likes the idea so much, she wants to create a similar program to help landlords and developers make buildings energy efficient, suggesting it should be called the BIFIA program.

Read More...

Playing the Villaraigosa-Cabinet speculation game (UPDATED)

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa remains the subject of speculation over a Cabinet post in the Obama administration.

UPDATE: Ken Salazar's decision to leave as Secretary of the Interior, announced Wednesday, puts more pressure on the Obama Administration to name Latinos to his Cabinet. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Everyone in Washington considers themselves smarter than anyone else in the room and therefore entitled to prognosticate on everything under the sun. Here's my punditry on the matter of where L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa might land in a second Obama admistration cabinet, should his personal life survive the vetting process:

There are currently two cabinet posts vacant at the moment: Labor and head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Neither is a good fit for Villaraigosa.

The mayor might argue he's been a leader in the green cities movement — meeting Kyoto targets on greenhouse gas, planting thousands of trees, reducing water consumption, reducing emissions at the ports. But there are others with more scientific backgrounds — outgoing Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire for one — who have a deeper environmental resume. Gregoire headed the state’s Department of Ecology and negotiated a nuclear waste cleanup agreement.

Read More...