LA Mayor-Elect Says Dems Must Talk Family

June 15, 2005

(AP) Democrats must talk more about family values if they want to keep the support of Latino voters, Los Angeles’ newly elected mayor said Wednesday.

Republicans were able to gain Hispanic votes in last year’s presidential election because they focused on religion and seemed comfortable with Latino voters, Antonio Villaraigosa told reporters at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Convention.

"They recognize something Latinos have in common with everybody else. I think Republicans do a better job of speaking to matters of the heart," the Democrat said.

And though his two oldest daughters were born out of wedlock to different mothers, unlike him they had a father in their lives.

At a time when it was virtually unheard of for men, before 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer, he says, "I had joint custody of the children."

The girls each chose to live with him when they turned 15. Now, Villaraigosa says, all four of his children — ages 29, 27, 16 and 14 — are so close that "you’d never know my family was blended."

But he pauses when asked if his life will be an inspiration to other children in difficult circumstances.

"Yes, these young people need role models," he says. "But they also need concrete support — teachers with high expectations, high-quality instruction and support at home to make them successful."

NOVEMBER 11, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Former state Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for City Council, called for an investigation Monday of mailers attacking him as a "womanizer" who has ignored the Hispanic community at the urging of "white advisers."

A Villaraigosa attorney sent a letter to the Los Angeles County district attorney and the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. noting that the mailers were sent on behalf of his rival, Councilman Nick Pacheco, and accusing Pacheco and a supporter who funded them of breaking various election laws.

From a post to MayorSam:

When a man who openly allies himself with the movement for gender justice treats the women in his private life as disposable, he sends a message that there are limits to the possibilities for male transformation. When an ostensible pro-feminist like Villaraigosa is chronicly unfaithful and develops a reputation as a reckless womanizer, he reinforces a stereotype not only for Latinos but for all men. One commentator I heard on the radio said what I know many others are thinking: “The lesson from the mayor is that, well, most men will cheat if given the chance. And if you’re in power like the mayor is, you’re going to have a lot of chances. We shouldn’t be surprised.” I winced when I heard that.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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