Monday, April 14, 2008

The Color of Crime: Brown or Black, Mayors still find Governing through Crime Works

As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares to make his case for a second term in office, it is clear that governing through crime remains the path of least resistance, even for the city's first Latino mayor in over a century. Villaraigosa came to office with bold talk about turning around LA's schools. But gaining control over the LA schools proved too difficult a task. Instead, seeking to show effectiveness, the Mayor has recently sought to consolidate citywide efforts to combat gangs in his office. Here, in contrast, Villarigosa has won a rare victory, winning a city council vote last week consolidating responsibility for fighting gangs to his office (read the CBS News story on the council vote). Thus even when a mayor comes to office with ambitions of exercising leadership in areas like education, the environment, or the economy, they are often thrust back on crime control as one area in which their quest for more authority is likely to be least resisted.

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