Mall developer Caruso mulls run for Los Angeles mayor

Rick Caruso speaks with reporters at the Biltmore Hotel, where he addressed Town Hall Los Angeles.
Rick Caruso speaks with reporters at the Biltmore Hotel, where he addressed Town Hall Los Angeles.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

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Rick Caruso, who developed the Grove in Los Angeles and the Americana in Glendale, said L.A. City Hall is a "bureaucratic nightmare." In his address to Town Hall Los Angeles at the Biltmore Hotel this week, Caruso said it's time for new leadership in the city, and he might be referring to himself.

Caruso, 52, called Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointment of a jobs czar a "gimmick."

The comment was a direct shot at one of his potential chief mayoral rivals, fellow millionaire businessman Austin Beutner, who serves as jobs czar. Beutner, like Caruso, bills himself as an outsider.

“If we’re going to create new jobs, if we’re going to create better schools, if we’re going to have a more livable city, we’re going to need a new kind of leadership," he said. "We don’t need political lifers who have held on to their government paychecks by glorifying process over results."

Caruso called for lower taxes, fewer regulations and a smaller city government. He said Villaraigosa and the City Council had only "nibbled around the edges" when they eliminated nearly 4,000 city jobs.

"We need disruptive leadership,” he said.

Caruso also called for breaking up the Los Angeles Unified School District, which he has said is "an educational gulag."

The election is still two years away, but the dapper businessman who's served on both the board of commissioners for the Department of Water and Power and police department said he’d decide on a mayoral bid this summer.

Beutner, City Controller Wendy Greuel, City Councilwoman Jan Perry and radio talk show host Kevin James have announced they are running. City Council President Eric Garcetti likely will run. L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and State Sen. Alex Padilla are mulling runs.