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City official Miguel Santana busted for DUI

March 26, 2010 9:41:41 PM PDT
Miguel Santana is city administrative officer for Los Angeles: the point man for dealing with the massive budget shortfall. Now he's dealing with a DUI arrest.Santana was appointed to the post less than a year ago. He's the most powerful non-elected official in Los Angeles. He was arrested early Friday morning in Covina on suspicion of drunken driving. He does not deny the charge.

At City Hall, Santana helps oversee the elimination of hundreds of city positions and hundreds of millions of dollars from the deficit.

Friday morning Santana walked into Mayor Villaraigosa's office to inform his boss, the man who named him to the post. Santana took full responsibility for the DUI.

When asked if he was confident in Santana to stay in the position, Mayor Villaraigosa said he did not have a problem with him staying. "It's all predicated on what happens and he's made it clear that he accepts the consequences for his actions and that he's going to seek the assistance that he needs. That's good enough for me and I think it will be good enough for the city council as well."

Santana was arrested in Covina driving home from a charity event involving District Attorney Steve Cooley in downtown Los Angeles shortly after midnight. Santana posted a $5,000 bond.

Friday, according to the mayor's office, Santana turned over his city car and keys. He issued a statement that read, in part:

"It was a mistake that I deeply regret and I apologize to my family and friends, my staff, the mayor, the city council, and the entire city family for this indiscretion."

"He indicated that this was not something that he's done before. This is his first DUI. But he understands that it's important and he has volunteered to seek assistance and counseling to make sure that he's doing everything he can to make sure that this doesn't happen again," said Villaraigosa.

The mayor has confidence in his city administrative officer. Santana is the first Latino appointed to the office. He leads a $7 billion L.A. budget.