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Where’s the Mayor?

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez tracks down Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on the Clinton campaign trail in Dallas.

Villaraigosa has raised some eyebrows, even within the Clinton campaign, for the time he has spent on the trail for the candidate in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and, most recently, Texas.

Lopez writes, “To be honest, I was a little surprised Villaraigosa didn’t call off this latest trip. I know Clinton has relied on him to help turn out the critical Latino vote, but that horrific shooting at a South-Central bus stop near a school last week — of the eight victims, five were children — happened just two days before the mayor left town Friday.

“The bus shootings followed a recent string of mayhem, including the Feb. 7 killing of SWAT Officer Randal Simmons and the Avenues gang shootout in Glassell Park.

“Don’t I recall the mayor saying that fixing the city’s disjointed and ineffective handling of gangs would be a priority for him?”

Although Lopez uses biting humor to get his point across, he raises a perlplexing question: Why would Villaraigosa, who has been under the gun to produce more tangible results from his term and is looking to repair his image in light of his affair with a Telemundo reporter, spend so much of his time out of state? His argument is that a Clinton presidency will help the city, but hasn’t he already produced results for her campaign by campaigning extensively for her in California, surely helping her win the state?

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