Run, Rick, Run
Why Rick Caruso should be LA's next Mayor
As a resident of West Hollywood, I am technically not a resident of the neighboring city of Los Angeles, but what happens in L.A. obviously has a big impact on my daily life. I have not been shy about expressing my disappointment towards current L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti; while I was initially supportive due to the fact that he was a Democrat, his leadership on big issues such as homelessness, crime, COVID-19 and it’s impact on small businesses has been weak and indecisive.
With Mayor Garcetti termed out and an L.A. Mayoral election coming up this November, I had been giving some thought to whom I might support. I have been a fan of businessman Rick Caruso, creator of some of the most popular retail establishments in L.A. such as The Grove and The Americana, for a long time now. He has been involved in L.A. civic life for decades; he has said for years that he might be interested in running for Mayor and I always thought he could do a great job.
My big hesitation, to be honest, was always that he was a Republican back in the day and became an independent. As a proud progressive Democrat who in the 12 years since I became old enough to vote has never voted for an independent or Republican, I felt that given the state of today’s GOP and the danger that Donald Trump represents to the country that I couldn’t vote for anyone who didn’t take a firm position in favor of the Democratic Party.
Well yesterday, Caruso did just that. Not only did he change his party affiliation to Democrat but he specifically did so by invoking the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol last year and saying that he wanted to “stand firmly on the side of the fundamental values that we will all need to invoke and enforce to thwart the coming attacks on our democracy”. As soon as I heard that, I was firmly on board his campaign.
That’s not to say that I don’t like some of the other candidates in the field; I’m actually a big fan of Kevin DeLeon, who I voted for when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2018, and I love Karen Bass who has been a great leader in both California and national politics. I just think that Rick Caruso, based on his life experience and the priorities that he has focused on in the past, has the right skills and views that we need in the Mayor’s office during this critical time in the city’s history.
As a successful businessman he will focus on helping the L.A. economy recover post-COVID and support small businesses who have been largely left to fend for themselves in the aftermath of this pandemic. He will be tough on crime which we desperately need at this moment of crisis. He will also be innovative and pro-active towards solving the homelessness dilemma which is a humanitarian disaster. We need someone who thinks outside the box and is, as Caruso described himself in his statement yesterday, a “Get Real, Can-Do Democrat”.
In many ways he reminds me of New York City’s new Mayor Eric Adams who I am also a big fan of; someone who is pragmatic, who’s all about delivering solutions for the people. To solve our problems we need leaders who are focused on results, who aren’t ideological, and that’s who Rick Caruso is. The comparisons some progressives have made on Caruso to Donald Trump based on the fact they’re both real estate developers are lazy and disingenuous; Caruso is a moderate who has endorsed and donated to progressive Democrats in the past and has spent decades involved in the public arena including serving as the Police Commission President under former Democratic Mayor James Hahn.
In a world where nuance seems to be increasingly rare, I hope fellow progressives will give Caruso a chance and support his campaign to revive and uplift Los Angeles. We face an unprecedented array of challenges, and in order to solve them we will need a proven leader who can turn this city around and once again make it a clean, safe place to live. Rick has what it takes to save Los Angeles.