Society

L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa and Animal Activist Lu Parker Split

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

While Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attended the Aspen Ideas Festival on July 2, KTLA News reporter and animal activist Lu Parker announced that they are no longer a couple.

"I can confirm that Lu Parker ended her three-year committed relationship with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as of May 25," said Juliette Harris, the owner of It Girl Public Relations, which represents Parker. Harris did not discuss the reason for the split, reports the Los Angeles Times.http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0703-mayor-lu-parker-20120703,0,214985.story

It has been a while since Parker and the Mayor have been photographed together and the split is probably not a surprise to many. The Mayor recently announced at Loyola University that his handling of the breakup of his marriage to Corina Villaraigosa, mother of two of his children, was his “biggest regret” since he became mayor. However, there was no mention of future plans with Lu Parker.

Parker is a former Miss USA and currently a special-assignment reporter for KTLA Channel 5 News, who has highlighted animal welfare issues.According to reports, she has been living at the Getty House, which is the mayor’s mansion in Windsor Square, owned by the taxpayers of Los Angeles. She used that address to register to vote in December 2010, according to Los Angeles County records.

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Villaraigosa declined to answer questions in recent weeks about the status of his relationship with Parker, according to the Times, and told reporters, "My personal life isn't any of your business any more than yours is mine.”

The Mayor has been openly supportive of Lu Parker’s non-profit organization, the Lu Parker Project, with the declared goal to help homeless animals and at-risk youth. However, the effects of his ardor on public policy came into question when he appointed Melanie Ramsayer, a talent agent for the Gersh Agency, reportedly a close friend of Lu Parker, and a Team Member on the Lu Parker Project website, to the Animal Services Commission on 10/12/09. The agendized election of officers was delayed until December 2010, at which time Ramsayer was elected President although she had no City Hall experience. Ramsayer resigned in February 2012 under public criticism at the meetings. .http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/villaraigosa-witchunts-mask-la-animal-services-brenda-barnettes-failed

Lu Parker was awarded her second Genesis Award on March 24, 2012 for Outstanding News Features. She was recognized for reporting and creative portrayals of animal-protection issues in three segments: Beagle Testing, Alleged Elephant Abuse, and Horse Rescue, in collaboration with KTLA 5 News in Los Angeles. As she received the award, she thanked KTLA, her boyfriend Antonio Villaraigosa, and volunteers who work in animal shelters

In March 2011, a Genesis Award acknowledged her efforts to bring attention to three other animal welfare issues in investigative reports on KTLA: Puppy Mills Exclusive Investigation; Dog Fighting Investigation; and Hatchery Hell-Investigative Report. http://www.zimbio.com/Lu+Parker/articles/VA6WuHHpFpl/LU+PARKER+WINS+GENESIS+AWARD

According to the LA Times report, KTLA News Director Jason Ball declined to comment on whether Parker would go back to news anchoring. "Lu's always been a part of the KTLA family and she continues to be," Ball said.

Read also: L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa Likes Animal Shelters More than Small Businesses?

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/la-mayor-villaraigosa-likes-animal-shelters-more-small-businesses