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Oops! What a time to talk about sex

June 18, 2007|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

There are badly timed e-mails, and then there are really badly timed e-mails.

And then there's the e-mail that Jean Fleming, wife of David Fleming, dispatched last month to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

To fully appreciate this e-mail, it helps to know that David Fleming is chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, a big-time attorney at Latham & Watkins and a Villaraigosa appointee to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Please. How bad can an e-mail be?

You be the judge. Here's what Jean Fleming had to say in her May 30 dispatch that was forwarded by a third party to The Times:

"Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

"I am deeply disappointed that you have chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton. Hillary & Bill are clearly over the hill.

"They represent the old politics and not the future. You have made the wrong choice and most likely your future hopes for governor of California will be affected by this unfortunate decision."

What's so bad about that?

"OBAMA represents the future and he will be elected," her message continued. "I and my family have been lifelong Democrats. I was born in Arkansas and raised in Chicago.

"I still have family in Arkansas and they were all familiar with Bill and his sex escapades (which is not unusual with men especially the ones in politics) (except he really has a sex addiction)!!!

"Our kids began to ask 'Mom, what's...?' Was this cool? Did your kids ask you? How did you reply? With a straight face he said 'I did not have sex with THAT WOMAN!!!' Tsk-Tsk. He was under oath, was he not??"

Given the events in the mayor's personal life that transpired within days of that e-mail being sent, what's Jean Fleming have to say now?

Fleming politely declined to discuss her views of the mayor's recently announced split from his wife, other than to say she knew what she was typing.

She also described herself as a "sassy old broad" who at 70 has a habit of sending angry missives after reading the newspapers each morning. Fleming usually aims at the City Council, she said.

Hearing that, this column immediately requested to be put on her mailing list.

"I don't regret anything that I send," she said. "When I send it, it's from my heart and my head, and they're both connected."

Fleming also said nothing really surprises her when it comes to men. "By the way, that part about Eve tempting Adam with an apple makes a nice story, but I don't think he needed much tempting."

Pencils up! The council voted last week to purchase a downtown office tower for $219 million to house city agencies. How much would they have paid in 2004, when they balked at the same deal?

A) $125 million

B) $175 million

C) $300 million

See answer below.

When the City Council approved Ernesto Cardenas, brother of Councilman Tony Cardenas, for a $115,000-per-year job as a Board of Public Works commissioner last week, how many council members asked Ernesto if his brother had cut a deal to get him a job?

A) None

B) Two

C) Seven

Answer is also below.

How did the big discussion of instant runoff voting go in the City Council's Rules and Elections Committee last Wednesday?

We teased that discussion here last week, not knowing the meeting would turn into a three-hour-plus example of what happens when you put voter rights activists in front of a microphone -- they literally can't stop talking.

The result of the meeting was that City Clerk Frank Martinez is going to spend the next six months penciling a report on various ways to help improve turnout and reduce the cost of city elections.

On the list of items Martinez will analyze are consolidating city elections with November general elections, going to all mail-in ballots and instant runoff voting, among others. A handful of elected officials have expressed support for instant runoff, but there won't be a meaningful debate on the issue until next year.

Anything new on the cities versus global warming front?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the first tidal power project in the world to supply a city with clean energy. San Francisco has flirted with the idea but hasn't been able to pull it off.

The system in New York depends on several turbines positioned on the floor of the East River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean at the southern tip of Manhattan. The system is expected to generate enough electricity for 8,000 homes a year when fully implemented.

There are two big differences between tidal power and hydropower. The first is that tidal power is constant, assuming the moon is working. Hydropower, particularly in the arid West, depends on the snowpack to keep rivers flowing.

The other key difference is that a dam isn't required for tidal power. Hydropower may also be clean, but dams blocking rivers have wreaked havoc on native fish, particularly salmon.

What causes more traffic -- commercial or residential properties?

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