You folks know I’m a huge critic of the L.A. Times, and I’ve bashed Steve Lopez a time or two. But the man is on fire lately, and I think it’s time to acknowledge it and honor it.
Lopez has been regularly ripping up City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who has been urging his wife to remedy several situations involving her driving — including ignoring an outstanding warrant for nine years, driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, and cracking up a city vehicle and getting the city to pay for it . . . despite the fact that she wasn’t authorized to drive it.
You should read the columns in their entirety, but I’m going to excerpt some of the better lines to whet your appetite.
It started with this column, with this great line:
Look, we all know Rocky is not short for rocket scientist . . .
And this one:
[T]here should be an investigation or two, and I’d like to suggest someone take a good hard look at Columbia Law School and investigate how Delgadillo graduated.
This line, from the same column, isn’t as funny — but it asked a salient question:
If someone lets an unauthorized person drive a city car, the car gets dinged, the city foots the bill and the city employee seems to have misplaced the report that would have identified the driver of the car, is that a crime?
The not-very-funny answer came in this column, which explained that no such report was ever filed:
Rocky Delgadillo’s staff handled the paperwork on his wife’s 2004 accident, and the city attorney said he was unaware that a required report on the accident was never filed with the city.
In the same column, Lopez comes with the funny. He observes early on: “Somebody should have had the sense to duct tape Rocky’s mouth shut.” And he ends the column this way:
As for Delgadillo, he now claims that although he didn’t know it at the time, because his wife handled these matters, he had no insurance for 13 months beginning in June 2005 when their policy apparently was canceled because of his wife’s problems.
A Delgadillo aide told me the city attorney bought himself an insurance policy in 2006 when he discovered this snafu, which raises a couple of questions:
Why did he say at Monday’s press conference that he had never been uninsured? And did his wife continue driving even after they became aware she had no license and no insurance?
I’d love to know the answers, but if I were managing Rocky, I’d reach for the duct tape.
Heh. I’m also trying to understand how she had encounter after encounter with police, during a period when she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest, and yet she never got taken to jail.
I already linked Lopez’s latest column, from yesterday. But it’s just gold, from beginning to end. I have spoken to several people who hate the L.A. Times but loved this column. I’ll excerpt some of the fun parts:
In the interest of public safety, I’d like to volunteer to serve as driver for the wife of L.A. City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo.
Let’s say Michelle Delgadillo needs to go to the store or pick up the kids.
Let’s say she gets hauled into court on a warrant, things don’t work out too well, and she needs a ride to the Lynwood hoosegow to bunk with Paris Hilton for a few days.
I’m her guy.
I’m on 24-hour call, and I won’t charge a penny. My reward will be the relief I get from knowing she’s not behind the wheel.
It’s hard to resist the temptation to cut and paste the whole thing.
As for Michelle’s husband, it’s not as if he’s Mr. Responsible himself, which is all the more reason for me to be his wife’s chauffeur.
As we established on Monday, Rocky and Michelle in fact tooled around in their Ford Expedition for more than a year while neither had car insurance.
Frightening thought, isn’t it?
Two uninsured drivers barreling around Los Angeles in an SUV the size of Dodger Stadium.
Let’s see, a Yukon GMC, a Ford Expedition. The Delgadillos are just a Hummer short of being able to blow their own hole through the ozone.
Oh, it gets better:
He’s the city attorney, and yet his family photo could be used in a campaign against scofflaws. Given the way he manages his personal affairs, you have to wonder if he’s competent to run a huge city department.
Imagine what must be going through Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s mind during this debacle. He’s got to be sitting back and asking himself: “If a blockhead like Rocky could become a lawyer, what kind of dunce flunks the bar exam four times, the way I did?”
I don’t care how many times I read that line, I laugh each and every time.
This whole controversy is wonderfully ironic, in light of the posturing Rocky’s office did in screaming for Paris Hilton to be jailed for driving on a suspended license. But the best part is reading Lopez’s columns. I can’t wait for the next one.