Politics & Government

The Buzz: ‘A lot I can learn’ at PR firm, says Villaraigosa

Villaraigosa thinks he’ll learn a lot in PR firm

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on the phone Tuesday from Harvard University, where he is a visiting fellow, to talk about his new job as a senior adviser at Edelman, the public relations giant.

Villaraigosa said he hopes to help companies navigate “that place where ... the corporate world meets public policy and community,” but also that “there’s a lot I can learn here” about business.

The ability to say four years from now that he has spent time learning about the private sector could help if he chooses to run for governor in 2018, but there are other interests Californians value. Villaraigosa demurred when asked how his appointment compared in résumé-building terms to last week’s announcement that Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will lead a panel to study legalizing marijuana.

“If you notice, I’m here at Harvard,” Villaraigosa said – and also at Edelman and at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he is a senior fellow, and at Herbalife, the nutritional products company he is advising. Villaraigosa is on the lecture circuit, and he said he will soon announce an affiliation with another university.

“So I’m kind of continuing the 18-hour days,” he said.

– David Siders

CAPITOL WATCH

Accustomed to presiding over the Assembly, Speaker John A. Pérez will spend the next few days hosting the National Speakers Conference in Los Angeles. Run by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, the four-day event today through Saturday brings together speakers and chiefs of staff. Pérez has already served a one-year term as conference president. The foundation draws funding from corporate backers that include the American Beverage Association, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Verizon and GlaxoSmithKline.

– Jeremy B. White

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