Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who's seeking a political platform after his mayoral term ends next year, attached himself to a bipartisan organization that seeks to close the federal budget deficit but that is bringing heat from the activist left wing of his Democratic Party.
A coalition of liberal groups this week delivered petitions with more than 21,000 names to Villaraigosa's office, demanding that he resign from the Campaign to Fix the Debt, which those on the left consider to be a right-wing plot to slash Social Security and other social services, and protect the wealthy against tax increases.
According to the left-leaning Calitics blog, Move.on, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the California-based Courage Campaign are joining forces to pressure Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa shows no signs of backing down. "I am a Democrat and a progressive, but you know what? The country is evenly divided. They won too," Villaraigosa told CNN, in reference to Republicans retaining control of the House.
Villaraigosa defended himself on Facebook, saying he supports continuation of social service programs and wants tax rates on the wealthy to rise. The mayor has been widely mentioned as a potential Cabinet member once his mayoral term ends in mid-2013.
THE STATE WORKER
With CalPERS' window soon closing on additional retirement service credit purchases, the fund has set up two fax lines to deal with an expected flood of requests this month. Lawmakers' pension changes include ending the benefit on Jan. 1. It allows those with at least five years of service to buy up to an additional five years of credit, which boosts pensions.