1) On Friday, Los Cerritos Community News reported that Caruso was caught up in the County Assessor scandal, having gotten property reductions from the County. Except the story wasn’t true (or at least it probably wasn’t)! The LA County sent a letter around, pointing out inaccuracies in the story. Just why the County is taking upon itself do defend Caruso is unclear (Cerritos Community News has a theory). Meanwhile, on twitter, Matt Middlebrook started tweeting the letter to any journalist within tweeting distance. Who’s Matt Middlebrook? Oh, just Rick Caruso’s political advisor.
2) Ron Kaye thinks he is, citing as evidence Eli Broad asked Rick Caruso to pony up some dough for a pension-rollback ballot measure, and that Caruso “reportedly begged off, saying he would soon be facing a lot of political expenses.”
3) A political consultant told me Caruso is “100% going to run”, based on who he’s hired to run his alleged campaign (the consultant wouldn’t say who).
4) As Gene Maddaus of the LA Weekly reported, Caruso has been asking around about rates for TV commercials in November.
Just over a month ago, Kevin James was being routinely confused with the star of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and written off by the LA Weekly as a “non-entity in [the] L.A. mayor’s race.” Today, he’s still routinely confused with the star of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
What a difference a few weeks and a few politicians deciding not to run (namely Zev Yaroslavsky) make. James’ performance at the first mayoral debate last week was something of a revelation; his blistering attack on his opponents earned him the lede paragraph in the LA Times’ story.
Now, District Attorney Steve Cooley has endorsed James. According to the campaign’s poorly written press release:
Cooley believes that Kevin James will make an outstanding mayor and that Kevin James is the mayoral candidate best qualified to tackle the many problems confronting the city of Los Angeles.
(It reads like something a prisoner of war would write after 48 hours of sleep depravation.)
Last night’s debate, held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood, was not entirely un-interesting. Here are some thoughts and half-hearted reporting about the magic that occurred:
• The moderator was teevee reporter Tracie Savage, and at the beginning of the debate she spent at least ten minutes talking about herself and her career. (Fun fact– moderator Tracie Savage’s mother was Eric Garcetti’s agent when he was child actor.) The rest of the debate consisted of opening and closing statements, and exactly four questions to each candidate followed by “rebuttals,” which usually consisted of restating the previous answer. The whole thing, mercifully, lasted only about an hour.
Rick Caruso is the new Zev Yaroslavsky. Everyone’s asking, will he or won’t he? Run for mayor, that is. Because the longer they talk about who’s not running for mayor, the less they have to talk about who is running for mayor, a most depressing topic that could drive even the most cynical city reporter to drink.
Kate Linthicum has a piece in the LA Times today mulling the Caruso question, coming up with neither answers nor even a quote from Caruso himself, although she did get this nice quote from a random Grove shopper:
Zach Thomas, a limousine driver in a Dodgers hat who was taking a break to get coffee, said he wished the rest of the city felt more like the Grove. “I think what he has done is quite amazing,” Thomas said. “Everything is clean and safe.”
Indeed, some of Caruso’s ideas about the city’s future sound like a developer’s pitch for a new project. Speaking to a roomful of business types at a Valley Industry & Commerce Assn. luncheon last year, Caruso said he envisioned neighborhoods organized around shopping centers, each of which would be linked by a light-rail system.
Meet Eric Garcetti, the official mayor of Los Angeles on film and teevee. Garcetti plays Mayor Ramon Quintero on the teevee show The Closer, and plays “himself” in the new movie, End of Watch. That is to say, he plays himself if his self was mayor, which he wants to be.
Garcetti is a very nice and charming guy, who’s career up till this point can be best exemplified by what he calls local government: “our city family.” Also, he calls city hall the “temple of democracy.”
Anyway, Eric Garcetti made a speech last night. It was billed, at least in LA Observed, as him putting forth “some ideas he would deploy as L.A.’s next mayor to move our city forward.” I assume that was taken from some sort of press release.
Over the next few months, Native Angeleno will attempt to draft our candidate for Mayor. Responding to the gaping lack of creativity and honesty about the state of our city, we will attempt to find that person who best embodies the true values and spirit of our times. All candidates are subject to review and commentary by the Native Angeleno community before the Junta ultimately announces our selection – the person who will be the next Mayor of Los Angeles. Or the last.
Candidate #1: The Man Who Dangled Over the 210 Freeway
Has any statement made about California politics in the past two years come closer to capturing the spirit of our times than this one profound commentary on our world.
Local authorities maligned the name of this artist, saying he was sought for “psychiatric evaluation.” Of course, the great artists and thinkers throughout history have always been sought for psychiatric evaluation and chased onto freeway overpasses. But in a state gone mad, could anything be more sane than dangling from the Sierra Avenue exit sign over rush our traffic in the city of Rialto?
Breaking news: Zev Yaroslavsly is still not running for mayor.
Zev made the long-awaited announcement on his blog early this morning: “Simply put, it’s time for a new generation of leaders to emerge and guide this region into the future.”
A big clue that this was about to happen was yesterday, when Controller Wendy Greuel, who’s also running for mayor, picked up the endorsement of former Assembly speaker Bob Hertzberg, who normally would have been a Zev man.
There goes one of our last shots an interesting race in March. Unless mall magnate Rick Caruso gets in soon, it’s gonna be all Greuel / Garcetti, all the time.
Memo to John Choi, running for City Council District 13 (aka, the hipster district): you may want to splurge and spend some of that $111,000 on a new web designer, seeing as though your current website shows a picture of Seattle.
Is County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky about to come down from the mountain, rub shoulders with the mortals and finally, after lo these many years, run for mayor? Local blogger Joseph Mailander says yes. He also says that Zev will announce tomorrow.
You heard it here first. Or you heard it there first, and you heard it here second.