If anybody was wondering whether mall developer Rick Caruso has the chops to be mayor, doubt no more: On Monday night, he demonstrated that he can pander like a pro.
Speculation about whether Caruso intends to enter the mayor's race has been running hot for months, met largely with silence from the mall magnate himself. That has forced political reporters to read the tea leaves for clues, such as Caruso's decision to withdraw a bid for the Dodgers (it would be tough to manage a baseball team and the city at the same time) and his recent move to switch his voter registration from Republican to "decline to state" (possibly an effort to appeal to voters in heavily Democratic Los Angeles). Now comes Monday's tweet.
"Boxer Manny Pacquiao is not welcome at @TheGroveLA. @TheGroveLA is a gathering place for all Angelenos, not a place for intolerance." In Twitterspeak, what this means is that Pacquiao is banned from Caruso's popular shopping mall the Grove in the Fairfax District, where Pacquiao had been scheduled to be interviewed for the TV show "Extra" on Wednesday night.
Pacquiao stepped on a mine in America's culture war when he gave an interview to the National Conservative Examiner expressing his views on gay marriage, which are about what you'd expect from a guy who gets hit in the head for a living. Pacquiao criticized President Obama for saying same-sex marriage should be legal, using the usual religious right rhetoric: "God's words first ... obey God's laws first before considering the laws of man," he said. Pacquiao is a congressman in the Philippines, where some lawmakers are apparently just as unclear on the concept of church-state separation as many are here.