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Villaraigosa vows 'deadlines over headlines' in second term

July 1, 2009 |  8:54 am

Mayor A less flashy mayor in his second term?

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offered sneak peeks of his inaugural speech this morning, sending out a passage in which he promises to keep track of his promises -- by giving the public numerical updates on his goals.

But far more intriguing is a sentence that hints that the mayor might behave in a less flashy way than he did during his first four-year term. Take a look:

"In the next four years, we are going to judge ourselves plain and simple -- based on what we build. We intend to write our record in concrete rather than poetry, focused on deadlines over headlines."

It's that "deadlines over headlines" bit that is sort of interesting.

When he took office four years ago, Villaraigosa wowed the city by seeming to be everywhere -- parades, ribbon cuttings, block parties. But that behavior also drew fire from critics, most notably from the LA Weekly, which accused the mayor of being more interested in fluffy photo ops than the drudgery of policy.

So will he devote less time to promotional events, like the opening of the 100th Panda Express restaurant? Or does that event fit a promise mentioned in another passage of today's speech, in which he says his top priority is to be "L.A.'s No. 1 salesman"?

Favoring deadlines over headlines would be an interesting choice for a mayor who announced his decision not to run for the governor's office live on CNN. One day before the inauguration, CNN's cameras were back in the mayor's office, shooting footage for a special on Latinos in America.

-- David Zahniser

Photo: Antonio Villaraigosa attends an interfaith service at First AME Church before being sworn for his second term as mayor of Los Angeles. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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