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Antonio Villaraigosa's newest gig

October 07, 2013|By Evan Halper
  • Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Century City on July 16, after signing on to be a senior advisor with Banc of California.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Century City on July 16,… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

WASHINGTON -- Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is taking on another job, and this time it is not at an embattled multilevel marketing company.

Villaraigosa is the newest senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Washington-based think tank announced Monday. His role there will be to help develop proposals on infrastructure investment, education and immigration reform.

“At a time when our government has been shut down and Washington is mired in a partisan meltdown, I couldn’t be prouder to work with an organization that works with both Democrats and Republicans to move our government and nation forward,” the former mayor said in a statement.

The nonpartisan center’s work has been largely Washington focused. Other senior fellows include four former Senate majority leaders, a half dozen senators and the former president of Colombia. “While D.C. is mired in anger and frustration, cities and states are moving forward with an array of important initiatives,” said former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, also a senior fellow at the center. “This is where the action is.”

Villaraigosa’s policy agenda was often stymied during his tenure, causing critics to question his effectiveness as an executive. But he did exhibit a willingness to break ranks with the Democratic Party in search of innovative ideas. His plans for school reform, for example, put him at odds with teachers unions.

The Villaraigosa administration also effectively wrested transportation funding from Washington in recent years, at a time many state and local governments could not move their projects forward. The mayor also aggressively pushed Congress to address immigration reform.

The think tank’s announcement comes a month after Villaraigosa took on another consulting gig, working as an adviser to nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd. That firm is battling allegations that it operates an illegal pyramid scheme that particularly targets Latino consumers.

Villaraigosa is counseling Herbalife on "strategic business development and global community outreach," according to the company. The former mayor is also working as a strategic adviser to Banc of California Inc., a community bank led by finance specialists. The goal is to help expand the Irvine bank's home and small business loan portfolios.

Twitter: @evanhalper

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