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Aug. 26 2009 - 5:10 pm | 45 views | 1 recommendation | 4 comments

Drought or No, LA Mayor Villaraigosa Loves His Lawn

Los Angeles mayor w:Antonio Villaraigosa.

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L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is fond of the rhetoric of “green.” Upon his election the mayor foretold of a new Los Angeles; a green Los Angeles; an “emerald city” replete with parks and a million new trees.

That hasn’t worked out so well. The million trees never were planted and the city remains one of the most park poor in the nation.

But, it seems,  Angelenos can count on the mayor keeping one thing nice and emerald: his lawn, even if he has to do it illegally.

The mayor was just busted by NBC4 for violating LA’s strict new drought reduction laws, which dictate residents can only water their lawn on Mondays and Thursdays. NBC4’s scoop comes days after the city put 15 water cops on the streets to enforce the law. Getting busted could cost the average citizen up to $1,000 in fines.

During the past month at the mayor’s house, back yard sprinklers were running at 2 a.m. on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday — all in violation of the law.

But, NBC4 cameras captured sprinklers watering the sprawling back yard of Villaraigosa’s Hancock Park mansion on nights restrictions were in effect.

At a recent public event, NBC4’s Joel Grover asked the mayor about the sprinklers.

“We’ve seen the sprinklers at your home, Getty House, running on illegal nights. Why is that?” Grover said.

“Actually, I don’t think that that’s true,” Villaraigosa said.

Except it was true. The mayor likes his lawn like he likes his hallow rhetoric: green.

Villaraigosa isn’t the first prominent LA green rhetorician busted for lawn-related hypocrisy.

Last year, journalist and editor Alan Mittelstaedt, writing in the now defunct L.A. CityBeat, hilariously stalked Los Angeles Department of Water and Power CEO David Nahai outside the chief’s sprawling 6,012 square foot Benedict Canyon mansion. Nahai is fond of lofty public statements about the need to conserve. Mittelstaedt wanted to get a look at the chief’s water bill, which is public record. After stonewalling Mittelstaedt for weeks, Nahai eventually revealed that he watered his lawn every night, rain or shine, and that his family used 36,185 gallons of water a month, nearly twice that of the average LA ratepayer.

H/T Fishbowl LA


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  1. collapse expand

    Well, you know what Mayor AV says when he gets caught doing something he shouldn’t: “It is a matter of the heart.”

  2. collapse expand

    aaah, hypocrisy. Where would politicians be without it? Nice story.

  3. collapse expand

    Water politics and LA are nothing new. Remember Chinatown, the Roman Polanski film based loosely on the Owens Valley and the aqueducts that would spawn Los Angeles into the metropolis it is today? LA was a desert until William Mulholland engineered a river to feed her thirst. I have a lawn, and I live in the I.E. When my wife washes our concrete it drives me nuts! Tom Medlicott

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    'Nobody walks in Los Angeles' you may have heard or read or said to yourself absentmindedly. This is entirely untrue. Plenty of crackheads walk in Los Angeles. Any number of schizophrenics too. And so do I. I'm a journalist who came up through the alternative weekly world, first as a staff writer with the LA Weekly and then as a senior editor of the LA City Beat. I currently write for the Los Angeles Times Magazine among other publications. When I'm not writing I wander, usually by foot.

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