Mayor Villaraigosa not riding in Kings parade
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is in Florida until Saturday for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, isn't riding in the parade Thursday as the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their Stanley Cup victory.
Instead, City Council President Herb Wesson, who is acting mayor in Villaraigosa's absence, is taking part in the festivities.
Villaraigosa has spent considerable time out of the city and on the national stage in recent months.
As outgoing president of the Conference of Mayors, chairman of this summer's Democratic National Convention and a top surrogate of the Obama reelection campaign, he has traveled frequently to appear at conferences, conventions and on weekend talk shows.
Last month, he was in Washington, D.C., for a stint on MSNBC's "Meet the Press." Last weekend he was in Las Vegas to give the keynote speech at the Nevada State Democratic Party Convention. On Thursday morning, he fielded questions from Florida about partisan gridlock in Congress and the presidential election from CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
The new roles have allowed Villaraigosa, who terms out of office next spring, to carve out a larger national profile at a time when he is looking to his political future. But his heavy travel schedule has not sat well with all.
In April, city employee unions threatened with layoffs mocked the mayor as a jetsetter. They distributed postcards addressed to Villaraigosa that read: "Greetings from Los Angeles. Wish you were here."
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey acknowledges the fans outside Staples Center before a parade celebrating the team's Stanley Cup win in Los Angeles. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press