LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Weeks after leaving office, Antonio Villaraigosa still receives some mayoral treatment, according to CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein.
Sources told Goldstein that the former mayor will have a security force for the next six months, chauffeuring him around with taxpayers footing the bill.
At a conference in Century City last week, Villaraigosa announced his first private sector job would be as an adviser with Banc of California. Outside, an unmarked Los Angeles Police Department car and a plainclothes officer awaited him–along with Goldstein.
“Beautiful thing is I don’t have to answer to you anymore,” Villaraigosa told Goldstein.
“Why do you have a city car and driver, Mr. Villaraigosa? You’re not in office anymore. Why should taxpayers be paying for a car and driver?” Goldstein asked.
“Why don’t you ask Chief Beck about that,” Villaraigosa responded.
In a statement, Chief Charlie Beck said, “We do not discuss the protection/security arrangements for our protectees.”
“Public figures often gather threats as a result of their public service to the city,” Cmdr. Andrew Smith added.
The duo wouldn’t say if there were any specific threats, but Villaraigosa is not the first former Los Angeles mayor to get special treatment.
Jim Hahn confirmed that he also received six months of security when he left office in 2005. Former Mayor Richard Riordan, however, said he didn’t.
Goldstein surveyed top cities across California and the rest of the country and found that San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Boston did not provide police protection for former mayors. Only Chicago, New York and Los Angeles give the protection perk.
Kris Vosburgh of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said the officers should be on the streets protecting citizens, not ex-mayors.
“This is basically preposterous to bill the taxpayers for security, and especially, transportation. Welcome to the real world, mayor. Everyone else has to pay for their own transportation,” he said.
The California Highway Patrol said former governors normally don’t receive any protection, although Gray Davis’ spokesperson said he did for an undetermined amount of time.