Mirthala Salinas: “Mayor Tony’s Hot Tamale“
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed the identity of the woman with whom he’s been cheating on his wife. She’s Mirthala Salinas and she’s not bad looking. Then again so was Villaraigosa’s wife, Corina, pictured below.
While Mirthala has her looks and a career as a journalist going for her, she does have a few strikes against her. First, she doesn’t seem to have qualms about sleeping with a married man. Not just any married man but a man with a security detail and a very public presence. This makes it even more likely they’ll be discovered leading to a breakup of a family with kids. Not too cool.
Second, Mirthala is rumored to have been in a romantic relationship with Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, which makes her look like she is trying to sleep her way up the Latino Political power structure in California. In fact she’s already the top two positions. Who’s next, Schwarzenegger? (Okay he’s a Republican but he’s probably getable.)
Third, she doesn’t have much journalistic integrity. Okay, with looks like she has she can get quite a bit of leeway from most station managers (and who can blame them for trying to do well in the ratings game) but her conflict of interest in covering Dems like Antonio and Fabian is a bit much even for PC LA.
According to Mayor Sam, on June 8, 2007, Channel 52 Telecast. This being the newscast where she reported on the Mayor’s separation. Most ethicists would agree that’s crossing the line and would be the equivalent of Dan Rather personally hiding WMDs before lambasting the president for the failure to find any.
LA Observed, whose traffic must be exploding since the somewhat sleepy world of LA politics has begun to act more like TMZ.com than MayorSam, quoted this passage from another site following the story:
….has learned that on one of the Mayor’s trips to Sacramento where he was seeking education reform Salinas was given unparalleled access to the Mayor.
“Unparalleled access to the Mayor”. Are they kidding? They’ve been sleeping together for a year. She’s been naked with him and done God-only-knows between the sheets. I’d say that is pretty unparalleled, unless of course the Mayor has been doing the nasty with others in the press corps.
Other things via LA Observed, a Daily News editor is calling Villaraigosa out and telling him to get back with his wife. (For the record so do we and since we own the URL www.villaraigosa2009.com, we do have a small say in the manner. After all we could point the URL to Corina’s MySpace page after we put one up for her.)
Mayor Villaraigosa denies that Salinas is pregnant (or as LAist put it “if his mamacita was with bambina”) but did confirm that the affair has been going on for at least a year (a 365 nights stand). He also noted that because of her integrity she informed the people she worked for that she should not cover the Mayor. The Mayor felt no such need to inform his wife of the same thing.
By the way, who’s the winner in all of this? Rocky Delgadillo of course. Who would have thought a Latino leader would have been able to look worse that Rocky in such a short period of time? In a bizarre twist, Salinas’s sexual transgressions may have saved Rocky’s career as much as it has hurt Antonio’s. In fact, one could spin Rocky’s ethics issues to have been the result of his blinding loyalty and love for his wife.
Update: It is now being reported that Salinas previously dated Council President — now California state Senator — Alex Padilla. This woman is on a mission.
Update: The Los Angeles Times is reporting of a fairly big inconsistency in the Mayor’s story. The mayor was just quoted as saying that “our friendship had grown to a point where it was necessary to inform her management that she shouldn’t cover me.” Yet, the relationship goes back at least 6 months prior to that. The Times found a witness to the mayor ditching his security detail and going to Salinas’ Sherman Oaks condominium one evening with bags of takeout food and a bottle of wine. It’s hard to imagine that this wasn’t indicative of the existence of a relationship at that time if not before.
The Times also reported that his staff was aware of the affair more than a year ago and worried of the fallout if it got out.
It is also interesting that despite all of the interviews and quotes from ethics experts, none of them have said anything about the immoral nature of the affair itself. The only issue has been the fact that Salinas was a reporter and slept with her source. The fact that he was married is deemed irrelevant. We’ve gotten to the point that the issue is not whether someone is married but whether having sex with them is deemed a conflict of interest. Something tells me that Corina would not have been okay with the affair regardless of whether or not Salinas was covering her husband.
Laura Castañeda, an associate professor of professional practice for the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, criticized Telemundo for allowing Salinas to report on the mayor in any respect, saying it was “completely inappropriate” for the station to let Salinas announce the mayor’s breakup with his wife.
Note the absence of saying that it was also “completely inappropriate” for Salinas to have had sex with the married Villaraigosa for the past 18 months as well? Does Corina factor into this somehow?
Villaraigosa also appears to maintaining the relationship with Salinas despite the negative impact it is having on his reputation. Salinas recently remarked, “The current relationship grew out of our existing friendship.” Most serious (married) politicians would have called it off by now given the longterm damage that could result. While his political career will likely continue despite his indiscretions, it would be interesting to see if her interest would continue if that wasn’t the case. (Remember how quickly Darrel Hannah dropped Charlie Sheen after he lost his connection to Gordon Gekko.)
Update: The story has legs. Despite the 4th being traditionally a slow Internet day, people who woke up to read about Mirthala in the papers have hit Google to see what she looks like.
The story continues to grow. LA Observed’s Kevin Roderick is going on NPR.
I continue to say that Rocky Delgadillo may just be the luckiest person in Los Angeles.
Update: Fishbowl LA is all over this story. Among the things I just learned from them. A) Salinas was a lot less forthcoming with her Telemundo bosses than she let on and they are not very happy with her. Second, and this is the great part, the LA Times has been running far more stories on Paris Hilton than on the Villaraigosa affair. 19 on Hilton and just 7 on Antonio’s escapades. I guess I know where to turn for stories on celebs (Times) versus coverage of civic affairs (LA Observed, MediaBistro, MayorSam, ERSNews, Independent Sources, …).
Big Update: A (new?) news site called ERS News has a very detailed post covering the scandal including two pieces that I have not seen reported elsewhere:
1) “She loves to have relationships with politicians,” one inside source at NBC tells ERSNews.com exclusively. “She’s a ‘power f***er!” This source also tells ERS News that Mayor Villaraigosa’s latest dalliance, Mirthala Salinas, a political reporter for NBC’s Telemundo is not the Mayor’s last. “He’s now dating one of the members of his LAPD protective detail,” this source revealed.”
2) “Corina’s mom said her daughter is so upset this time that she said she’ll take steps to have her name legally changed back to Raigosa. ERSNews.com wonders if the Mayor will also change his name.”
The security detail paramour is certainly an interesting angle since the security detail must have been aware of his relationship with Salinas. If true, it means that Villaraigosa is cheating on the woman with whom he is cheating on his wife. Will Salinas be jealous and if she is scorned and decides to open up more about the secret relationship of the past year? If so, what sorts of fall-out is possible? Remember the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal really gathered steam when tidbits like the cigar and the blue dress were revealed.
Update: Telemundo has put Salinas on administrative leave.
Update: Telemundo suspends the hot little cheat and dodges a political bullet in the process.
Update: KCET has a nice round up and collection of links on the story.
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