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Trip to Israel questioned

June 24, 2008

Re "Villaraigosa says Israel trip paid dividends for L.A.," June 19

This trip appears to be little more than a political junket. Additionally, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa avoids answering the questions of what the trip cost and how much the taxpayers will be paying for it. This is disingenuous and suspicious behavior.

Why does the mayor have to look at security measures? He's not an expert and will not be overseeing such at LAX. If the city will be hiring Israeli security consultants, surely such experts and contractors can make a trip, rather than the other way around. This is standard business practice in the private sector and should be especially so in the public sector.

Villaraigosa is not a world leader who needs to interface with foreign heads of state. He's just a mayor, though one with obvious ambitions funded by taxpayers. Taxpayers should demand complete fiscal accountability for this and all foreign trips.

Stephen Baker

Beverly Hills

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