Rocky Month
An ambitious politician gets his comeuppance, and a shameful episode for the LAPD.


Early tomorrow morning, while most of Los Angeles remains blissfully asleep, even before the first purple hints of dawn begin to glow in the Southern California sky, one man in the city will be lying abed restlessly and mercilessly awake. He will stare at the ceiling and listen for the car coming down the street, the same car he has heard at this same time every morning for almost a month. As the car draws nearer to his home the man will hear the thwack-swisshh, thwack-swisshh, thwack-swisshh of the day’s edition of the Los Angeles Times landing and skidding first on his neighbors’ front walkways and then on his own.

There was a time when, if the man chanced to be awake to hear them at all, these were welcome sounds, for the paper that arrived at his front door might have carried an account of some political victory he had achieved or perhaps even a flattering profile. No longer. Tomorrow morning, the thwack-swisshh of the newspaper landing at his doorstep will to him be like the hammering and sawing of gallows being erected, gallows on which he will soon be hanged.

The sleepless man is Rockard “Rocky” Delgadillo, city attorney for Los Angeles. For most of the last month or so, seldom has a day gone by that the local news here didn’t include some embarrassing new revelation about the man, and on those days when Delgadillo himself wasn’t getting whacked with the mallet of public scorn he had to stand helplessly by and watch as his wife Michelle got clobbered with it. And even when there was nothing new to report about the woeful couple, the editorialists and op-ed writers at the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News busied themselves in gleefully rehashing what was already known.

Over the last month we have learned:

Delgadillo was fined $11,450 for 30 counts of violating campaign-finance laws.

In 2004, he allowed his wife to drive his city-owned GMC Yukon in violation of city ethics rules.

While driving the Yukon, his wife was involved in a minor traffic accident that caused about $1,200 in damage to the vehicle. Delgadillo had it repaired at taxpayer expense.

His wife was uninsured when she was involved in another traffic accident in 2004. She was also uninsured from June 2005 to February 2007.

His wife failed to pay state taxes on her home-based consulting business. She also failed to obtain the required city business license.

His wife was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant dating from 1998. She had been cited by a California Highway Patrol officer for driving with an expired driver’s license, for not having required liability insurance, and for driving an unregistered car. She failed to appear in court for the citation, resulting in a $2,000 bench warrant.

Delgadillo himself drove his personal car without insurance from June 2005 to July 2006.

He enlisted city-paid staff members to run personal errands for him and baby-sit his two young children.