Former Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may have left office weeks ago, but he still receives its perks and bristled at a journalist asking why L.A. taxpayers should pay for them, CBS2 reports.
After Villaraigosa announced his first private sector job since leaving office last week, CBS investigative reporter David Goldstein confronted him about having six months of security "chauffeuring him around, with taxpayers footing the bill."
Villaraigosa was not pleased to see Goldstein.
"The beautiful thing is, I don't have to answer you anymore," Villaraigosa said, chortling.
Goldstein also asked Villaraigosa, as he got in the passenger seat of an unmarked police vehicle, why he deserved a city car and city driver as an ex-mayor.
"Why don't you ask Chief Beck about that?" he said before slamming the door:
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 large cities across California and the rest of the country and found only the heavily Democratic cities of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles provide police protection for former mayors:
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 chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Villaraigosa also found himself in a tight spot when he was forced to hold three votes on the reinsertion of God and Jerusalem into the party platform. Despite what sounded like more than one-third of the sparsely attended convention shouting "no" for their vote, the visibly shaken Villaraigosa finally adopted the amendment.