Delgadillo Agonistes*

I’m sure it feels really unfair right now to be City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

I mean, like, there’s no proof that his wife with a suspended license drove his city-owned Yukon, no proof that she had an accident, no proof that the repair bill wasn’t appropriately paid by taxpayers.

Like noted civil libertarian Bart Simpson always says,

I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.

But people are jumping to conclusions anyway.

And he must be wondering, why does it have to be now that the LA Times starts imitating the Daily News, with its “Rocky Watch” gimmick? (Although he should be relieved. It’s only on the editorial page. More people watched the Tony Awards than read the LA Times editorial page.)

Just to give Rocky a momentary respite from the gloom that can befall an unfairly accused man, I’ll call up a story from the years when I drove one of those E-plated government cars.

It wasn’t a Yukon. It was a Linda Blair-vomit green Dodge four-door sedan. I used it during part of my time in the office of LA County Supervisor Ed Edelman. It was assigned to me after I’d worked there about two years.

I was living in an old apartment building at the edge of Hancock Park, a block off La Brea, behind a bank. Even though we weren’t supposed to, I parked it at night in the bank’s parking lot, because street parking was rarely available and, well, I had an “E” plate, and the lore back in the early 80s was that you could park an “E” plated car wherever you wanted. Whenever one of my colleagues took me to lunch in those days, they’d always park in the red zone,right in front of the restaurant. When I was new and naive, I’d ask, Aren’t you going to get a ticket? “Nah,” they answered. “I got an E plate.”

So, now, every night and all weekend, there was this ugly green Dart parked in the area of the bank parking lot that was used by all the tenants in this building.

The building was owned by an older woman, who had an adult grandson living with her. This grandson was a serious weed addict. The landlady’s apartment was next to mine. She didn’t know what her grandson liked to do, so he’d usually sit outside on the stoop when he wanted to light up, usually after she went to bed. If my living room window was open, his smoke came blowing in.

One day, I slept in — maybe I was sick. I got in my car to go to work around noon. Grandson was taking out the trash and noticed me opening the door.

“Hey man…that’s your car?”

“Yeah. The County gave it to me to use for business.”

“Aw man….” He shook his head and laughed. “I was sure it was a narc driving that car. I haven’t smoked in weeks ‘cuz I didn’t know who drove that car. I’ve been going crazy.”

I hadn’t really noticed that he’d stopped his nightly al fresco jaybird, but I did notice the smell was back the very night of the day of our conversation.

So, Mr. Delgadillo, I offer my story as the beginning of your cover story. The Mrs. wasn’t driving the Yukon for her convenience. Oh no. It was a drug prevention thing. She’d heard there were a bunch of people smoking pot … er, crack, yeah, that’s the ticket…and she realized they’d stop if she pulled up in a city car. Why, there had been reports of drug use at … um … hairdressers, nail salons, grocery stores …

*Update:  In an awkward press conference late today, Delgadillo admitted he let his wife drive the city-owned Yukon, and that she was the one who crashed it. He went the full apology route.

After avoiding reporters for more than a week, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo on Monday accepted responsibility by repaying the city for repairs for a 2004 accident in which his wife crashed his city-issued GMC Yukon into a pole.

Delgadillo said he issued a check Monday to the city to pay for the $1,222 repair bill, which was initially completed at taxpayer expense.”

I’m saddened that my wife’s life has become a public issue,” Delgadillo said during a late afternoon news conference at his City Hall office.

“I mishandled the situation, and I apologize,” he said. “Again, I’m sorry and I take full responsibility.”

Delgadillo admitted that he allowed his wife, Michelle, to use the city-owned GMC Yukon “on rare occasions.”

How did the city attorney think he could avoid this outcome?   It’s a fair surmise that his one-week delay in having this press conference entailed a search for Plan B.  What else could he have thought would work to get him out of this jam?

This comment suggests he didn’t think it was any of the public’s business:

“Like any husband, I love my family and I have tried to keep them out of the public eye,” Delgadillo said. “But as an elected official, I am accountable to the public, and I realize that I should have spoken up earlier. That was a mistake.”

Well…we’re certainly on our way to the creation of a political aristocracy, insulated from the consequences of any of their decisions.  The evidence is everywhere.  Perhaps Delgadillo thought he was there already.

2 thoughts on “Delgadillo Agonistes*

  1. I’m still waiting for Mr. Delgadillo to resign or be indicted. This is not exactly a “minor mistake” by an inexperienced public servant. It was intentional. Smells a lot like fraud, conspiracy and quite possibly obstruction of justice.

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