Caruso For L.A. Mayor?

Caruso For L.A. Mayor?

With the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral race still so far away, the slow-paced jockeying between the usual-suspect candidates can get a bit tedious and boring. What this fledgling race could use is some excitement to add some early drama to the humdrum days of initial fundraising. What we could really use is an interesting and polarizing ‘political outsider’ to really shake things up, and flirt back and forth with running and not running to create some real publicity. Maybe he could be some billionaire mogul with a penchant for ‘getting things done,’ and he could call on that reputation to demand a real break from the status quo of City Hall?

Oh … wait? Rick Caruso’s toying with the idea of running? And he’s staying predictably coy before the November deadline to declare? But doesn’t that sound much too trite and cliché to be true?

Yes, it does. But it’s our reality in this early stage of the election. For Caruso, just as the other grass is always greener, so too is the other job so much simpler and easier. And he comes to us as the prototypical business mogul that’s sick of political and bureaucratic gridlock, determined to apply the sound practices of his hugely successful business to reform City Hall and save Los Angeles.

But there’s scores of businessmen that have smoothly transitioned into politics. Look at Michael Bloomberg and what he’s doing in New York, or even Richard Riordan, here in Los Angeles, less than two decades ago.

Yes, those are two examples of, what some might argue, successful business-to-politics transitions. But, assuming that being mayor isn’t on the same level of passing fancy for Caruso as owning the Dodgers was eight months ago, how clean of a transition would it be for him? Bloomberg and Riordan both made their money as investment men, but how prudent would it be to have a land development magnate as mayor? Is it a conflict of interest to have a man in the mayor’s office with a tremendous amount of money tied up in a new retail and condo development near the Beverly Center? Does it even need to be asked?

If that isn’t cause enough for alarm, just look to his limited experience with politics thus far. The controversy over the slur he allegedly directed at US Representative Maxine Waters while president of the city Police Commission a decade ago, nor his recent withdrawal from the Coliseum Commission after alleged financial improprieties by former managers of the venue bode very well for his chances as mayor.