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Editorial Political Risk Rocky Has to Come Clean -- but His Word Alone Isn't Enough

Jun 21, 2007

IT'S hard to believe it, but City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has managed to make Paris Hilton into a sympathetic creature.

Suddenly, the heiress's motoring violations and contempt for the law don't seem so terrible. At least she can blame it on a "medical condition."

But it's getting hard for Delgadillo to explain away the increasing litany of alleged violations of city policy and state law against him and his wife.

The revelations of his use -- and alleged misuse -- of city resources keep piling up. And that's on top of Rocky's admission that his wife sometimes used his city car, crashed it once while driving without a license and had the city foot the bill. Or that Rocky himself failed to have car insurance.

If Hilton's scofflaw behavior landed her in county jail, as Delgadillo demanded, shouldn't his own wife get a similar lesson in responsible citizenship?

The latest revelation of the city attorney's questionable behavior is that the man who earns an annual salary of $205,977 -- not including perks such as a free car -- regularly uses his city staff to baby-sit his children and to run personal errands.

Delgadillo responds that staffers only did these favors for him on breaks and personal time. But it's hard to imagine that Delgadillo, who can't even seem to manage his car insurance, would have done such fastidious record-keeping as to prove the truth of his words.

Rocky needs to come clean. The problem is that at this point, he has lost his credibility. The word alone of the city's top law enforcer can't be trusted.

Until Delgadillo offers hard proof -- not earnest assertions -- that city employees weren't serving him personally on the public's dime, this damage will not heal.

By evading questions, dissembling and giving incomplete or erroneous explanations, Delgadillo has made his words unreliable. Like a good lawyer, he needs to prove his case in the court of public opinion.

(c) 2007 Daily News; Los Angeles, Calif.. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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