The irony of this trip does not escape me, for the last sentence in the article reads, "He went to El Salvador and Mexico last May for a mission that was cut short when police beat demonstrators and journalists during an immigrant-rights gathering in MacArthur Park."
Mayor Villaragosa won his mayorial seat due in large part on appealing to the large Hispanic population of the community. Yet last year, when he was in Latin America his trip was cut short after the LAPD brutally broke up a May Day immigrants rally using strong armed tactics straight out of the training that the LAPD received after Chief Bratton of the LAPD had his force trained in ISRAELI police tactics.
The outrage in the community and the media over what occurred in McArthur Park last May Day drew international attention. Many in the Middle East who I spoke with recognized immediately what they were seeing in those news clips, ISRAELI strong armed tactics which are used on Palestinians being transported and used here on our own people.
At a celebration of May Day just a few weeks ago which the Mayor and Bratton both attended, they spoke these words of this year's McArthur Park gathering:
"Villaraigosa assured the crowd that "The city has learned the mistakes of the past" after Bratton declared the night a chance to celebrate at MacArthur Park “as a positive experience and remove the negative experience of last year."
Obviously they have NOT learned, because now Villaragosa is on his way to Israel to get help on security at LAX and other city owned airports (which includes Ontario) and the port. What new "security tactics" will they be learning from the Israelis? How to strip search and humiliate women as they do at Ben Gurion? (Video: "The Easiest Targets")
All of this is also coming on the heels of last fall's LAPD "Muslim mapping plan" which brought yet another black mark on the LAPD.
And may I ask where did the LAPD get THAT idea from?
What is going on here in Los Angeles as the city is choosing to align itself with these strong-armed Israeli tactics which VIOLATE our civil liberties as American citizens SHOULD be raising alarm in the community.
The question is what tactic will the city entities take up next which they will have to refute, of course AFTER further violations against citizens occur.
WAKE UP LOS ANGELES!!!
L.A. mayor to lead delegation to Israel
Villaraigosa will lead a delegation of city officials and about a dozen religious and business leaders June 11-18, his third overseas trip since taking office nearly three years ago.
Spokesman Matt Szabo, who said the list is being finalized, described the mission as "a short targeted trip that will focus on security and green technology exchange."
But the trip also could help Villaraigosa buttress his relationship with Los Angeles' Jewish community, an always important political constituency in the city.
Villaraigosa's itinerary calls for him to sign an agreement to bring experts from Ben Gurion International Airport to review security at Los Angeles International Airport and other city-owned airports.
The mayor also is expected to sign an accord calling for Los Angeles to provide guidance about green measures taken at its port in exchange for expertise on how to better secure the mammoth facility in San Pedro, one of nation's busiest.
City officials said they also want to expand their relationship with the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, which would provide training for the Los Angeles Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.
Villaraigosa will spend the bulk of his time in Jerusalem. He has meetings scheduled with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, among others. He also is scheduled to meet Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and visit a school in that city.
His schedule is expected to include a tour of Israel's seaport of Ashdod and a visit to Sderot, a desert town near the Gaza border that has faced repeated rocket attacks by Palestinians and has become a must-stop for American politicians. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, stopped by in March.
Villaraigosa also will meet with water experts to discuss conservation.
He will be joined by several top city leaders, including City Councilmen Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine. The list includes Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai and DWP board President Nick Patsaouras; port General Manager Geraldine Knatz and harbor Commissioner Doug Krause; Gina Marie Lindsey, general manager of the city's airport agency, and Airport Commission President Alan Rothenberg.
Szabo said the still-undetermined cost of the trip will be paid by the mayor's travel budget and by the semi-independent departments that oversee the DWP, airport and port.
Villaraigosa traveled to Asia two years ago for a 16-day trade mission. He went to El Salvador and Mexico last May for a mission that was cut short when police beat demonstrators and journalists during an immigrant-rights gathering in