Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on the phone Tuesday from Harvard University, where he is a visiting fellow, to talk about his new job at Edelman, the public relations giant where he will work as a senior adviser.
Villaraigosa said he hopes to help companies navigate "that place where ... the corporate world meets public policy and community," but also that "there's a lot I can learn here" about business.
The ability to say four years from now that he has spent time learning about the private sector could help the former labor organizer and Assembly speaker if he chooses to run for governor in 2018, but there are other interests Californians value. Villaraigosa demurred when asked how his appointment compared in resume-building terms to last week's announcement by another potential future candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. He will lead a panel to study legalizing marijuana.
"If you notice, I'm here at Harvard," Villaraigosa said - and also at Edelman and at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he is a senior fellow, and at Herbalife, the nutritional products company he is advising. Villaraigosa, 60, is on the lecture circuit, and he said he will soon announce an affiliation with another university.
"So I'm kind of continuing the 18-hour days," Villaraigosa said.
On this day the Democrat was between speaking engagements, and The Harvard Crimson, the college newspaper, was waiting for an interview.
"They're calling me here," he said, and with that he had to go.
PHOTO: Antonio Villaraigosa, then mayor of Los Angeles, speaks before the Sacramento Press Club, in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.