Ready to steer you right, Mrs. Delgadillo
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.
As my colleague Matt Lait reports in today’s paper, Michelle Delgadillo’s driving problems go back to at least 1998, when Santa Monica issued a bench warrant for her arrest after she failed to appear in court for driving an unregistered vehicle with no proof of insurance and a suspended license -- a scofflaw trifecta!
Sound familiar? That’s right. She was also driving on a suspended license when she banged her husband’s city-owned GMC Yukon into a pole in 2004.
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.
And what a great way to put money away for the college fund. As anyone with car insurance knows, the Delgadillos have saved a small fortune by driving without.
Whoops. Here I am, almost halfway through the column, and I forgot to mention that the Delgadillos ran up $251 in penalties over the last three years for late payment of parking tickets, including one that wasn’t paid off until 18 months after it was issued.
It sure had to be embarrassing for the city attorney to admit on Tuesday that his wife Michelle collected those tickets, because that was yet more proof that she was driving without insurance or a license.
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?”
Meanwhile, speculation continues as to which agency would investigate the city attorney’s office if there was any wrongdoing in the use of a city vehicle by a spouse who ran it into a pole.
The city attorney’s office has a conflict because Rocky is the city attorney. The district attorney has a conflict because Rocky might run for district attorney. The state attorney general has a conflict because Rocky ran against Jerry Brown.
That leaves me, so I sent another round of questions to Rocky’s office Tuesday, including:
“After discovering in 2006 that his wife had no insurance and no license, did Rocky prohibit her from driving, and if so, how did she and the kids get around?”
Delgadillo spokesman Nick Velasquez gave me this answer, if you can call it one: “When the city attorney learned of this, he strongly urged her to remedy the situation as soon as possible.”
When I asked why she wasn’t ticketed for having no license or insurance in 2005, when she was cited on a moving violation, Velasquez suggested I ask the LAPD.
I intend to. I don’t mean to be nosy, but inquiring drivers would like to know how to catch the same kind of breaks.
And I’d like to know how Delgadillo could lead us on this adventure for more than a week without a single reprimand from the mayor or City Council members.
Actually, I already know the answer.
There’s a polite culture at City Hall. People generally don’t speak ill of each other, not publicly anyway, because they know it’ll come back at them one day. The silence may also have something do with the fact that the mayor has 26 take-home vehicles assigned to his staff, and each council member -- except Jack Weiss, who drives his own car -- has seven or eight.
That’s roughly 130 cars on the road just for the mayor and City Council, and I’d like to invite readers to contact me here at the Hack Hotline if they know of any inappropriate use of those vehicles, or any other city vehicles.
And I’ll let you know when City Controller Laura Chick gets cracking on her audit of what the entire city fleet costs taxpayers and how much could be saved if employees used their own cars and were reimbursed for mileage, which is how it’s done in the private sector.
In the meantime, I’m not kidding about my offer to be Michelle Delgadillo’s driver. If Rocky thought it was OK for his wife to drive the city-owned Yukon, why not a columnist?
Call me, Michelle. I still had insurance last time I checked, I don’t know of any outstanding bench warrants, and I haven’t wrapped my car around a pole in months.