OPINION: A simple request of L.A.’s next mayor

It’s a simple request of the two candidate’s vying to become Los Angeles’ next mayor.

On top of all of your promises to pave the roads, provide jobs, better our schools, and lower crime—promise us that if you are elected as the next mayor of Los Angeles that you will not cheat on your spouse—at least for the duration of your time in office.  Take the vow that if you do cheat and are caught, that you will resist the urge to flaunt your affair all over town, smiling all the while, and just abdicate your office and leave—as quickly and quietly as possible.

See, I told you it was simple.

From San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s affair with his appointments secretary Ruby Rippey-Tourk to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani marrying his mistress and fundraiser Judith Nathan, Detroit’s disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s affair with his then Chief of Staff Christine Beatty and of course the discovery of California’s former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child—I think we can all agree that when politicians get caught having sexual relations outside of their marriage it’s a lose lose situation for all involved, especially the constituents.

Los Angeles voters have less than two weeks before they head back to the polls to elect a mayor to replace the termed out Antonio Villaraigosa, who came into office as a married man but leaves eight years later a divorced bachelor after his romantic relationship with television newswoman Mirthala Salinas was exposed and his wife Corina left him.

Voters like myself are looking forward to finally having a mayor they can be proud of—and not just for filling potholes and balancing the city’s budget but for understanding Los Angeles on many accounts is already the laughingstock of the country and is badly in need of an image enhancement.

With no NFL team, our legendary traffic jams and police chases, a Metro train to the airport that doesn’t really go into the airport, celebrity residents like Lindsey Lohan and Reese Witherspoon making news and not in a good way—a real argument can be made that Los Angeles is in the middle of its own image crisis—this without the addition of a philanderer mayor. 

But things are looking up.

On Tuesday, May 21 we get to put an end for what many has been eight years of nothing but embarrassment and constant let downs from the moment he was sworn into office.

Now before I get accused for being a closeted member of morality brigade, as a lesbian, I’d like to point out, I could really care less what the average consenting adult does behind closed doors.  As a voter however, I am equally concerned with who elected officials are screwing in public—as well as in private.

Like many of its residents, I love Los Angeles.  I take deep pride in the City of Angels. I am one of the few African-Americans left here who hasn’t moved to the Inland Empire or out of the state. 

Sure we are the homeless capital of the nation, we have a failing public school system, and don’t get me started on the traffic—but this is Los Angeles.  Home to Hollywood, the Lakers, and the L.A.P.D.  Add to that, we’ve got the best weather in the country.  Where else can you go to the beach, the mountains, and the desert all in one day?  Los Angeles.

Most Angelinos take pride in Los Angeles—and not just when the Lakers are playing. We love this city and there’s enough going on in this city without the addition of yet another politician being caught doing something, somewhere, with someone they aren’t supposed to be doing it with. 

It’s downright embarrassing and is a huge distraction from the task at hand—running the city.  Which by most accounts, is on the verge of bankruptcy every other day and can breakout into a race riot at any given moment.

So whether its Wendy Greuel or Eric Garcetti as the next mayor, I think supporters of both can agree that their candidate of choice has an enormous job ahead of them if elected without the added nuisance of being chased around by local and national news reporters because they’ve been caught having an affair. 

It’s only for four years and I can pretty much guarantee both candidates that whoever is elected—their spouse will thank them but so will the people who took the time on Election Day to help put them into office.


Chosen as one of Essence Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World,  Jasmyne A. Cannick is a native of Los Angeles and writes about the intersection of race, politics, and pop culture. Online at www.JasmyneOnline.com.  Follow her on Twitter @jasmyne and on Facebook at /jasmyne.

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