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There goes Mayor Rick Caruso, and 'L.A. the Downtown' with him

October 12, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • Los Angeles businessman Rick Caruso, developer of the Grove and Americana at Brand shopping malls, in 2008. Caruso announced Thursday that he won't fun for mayor.
Los Angeles businessman Rick Caruso, developer of the Grove and Americana… (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles…)

Darn, there goes the City Hall neighborhood: Rick Caruso isn’t going to run for mayor.  

Now, for you folks who aren’t from these parts and/or haven’t had the distinct pleasure of visiting our fair little burg, Caruso is the developer behind the Grove and the Americana at Brand.   

The Times story Thursday called them “shopping centers.”  But that’s like calling a Starbucks a coffee shop.

When you have little twinkly lights on every palm tree, and a trolley that snakes through the place, and real fake streets, and more high-end shops and shoppers than you can shake a Rolex at -- well, these ain’t no regular shopping centers, baby. (Hey, careful when you park the Ferrari, OK? And mind the chihuahua!)

So there was a certain … expectation that Caruso, if he ran and was elected, would bring his own branding to City Hall.  Much like Mitt Romney’s appeal as a business-savvy president, Caruso could’ve been a designer-savvy mayor.

You know: goodbye Dash buses trundling along city streets; hello double-decker buses and trolleys.

Historic City Hall? Hey, nothing wrong with converting the top floors into condos, right?  (Attention buyers: Let the flashing “Lindbergh beacon”  guide you home!) He could even have hung a "Rick's Place" neon sign out front.

And why do city buildings not have a few nice shops on the ground floors? Who uses ground-floor space on offices, for crying out loud.

Not to mention all the revenue the city wastes with its parking garages; parking in L.A. is money, kiddo!

Yea, Caruso would’ve been fun. No more “downtown L.A.” Instead, it would’ve been “L.A. the Downtown.”  Free concerts in the park -- and don’t forget to order your box lunch or dinner from City Hall catering!

Or how’d you like to ride on a real firetruck, kids? Mom and Dad, line up for those photos, $25 for a glossy, $75 for the one with your son or daughter behind the wheel.

And that nice impromptu dog park next to LAPD headquarters?  Hey, step inside to Cop-Doggie Day Care, where your pooch will get the finest treatment, plus, for a little extra, training in the fine art of chasing down suspects.  And don’t forget the DVD of mommie’s little doodle dog biting its first perp!

But on Thursday, the music stopped. Caruso issued a statement that he wouldn't enter the mayoral race. Instead, he said, “I look forward to continuing to contribute to our city by focusing on endeavors that enrich the lives of the people in this city.”

Which I think means he's mostly not finished enriching one Rick Caruso.

So instead of "L.A. the Downtown Rick," Angelenos are left to pick from Controller Wendy Greuel or City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry.

All three are savvy politicians, I’m sure.  One of them might even make a good mayor.

But trust me, none of them will make Spring Street into a pedestrian shopping mall, complete with twinkly lights. 


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