Caruso says thanks, but no thanks

Developer Rick Caruso has been saying for a while that his running for mayor is only a question of when, not if. Well, it won't be this time, he announced today in a statement.

For the last few months I have been considering a potential run for Mayor because I care a great deal about Los Angeles. I grew up in Los Angeles, attended school here, started my business here and have invested a great deal in this community, both in time and resources. I have raised my family here. I love Los Angeles.

As I considered a run for mayor, given my experience both in the civic arena and in private business, I am confident that I have much to offer this city, both in terms of leadership and a passion for improving our community. For me personally however, my first consideration had to be whether, for my family, this was the right time for me to run.

And, while I am genuinely grateful for all the encouragement I have received from people all over this city to run for mayor and the confidence they put in me, I have decided that the obligation of serving as mayor would put a burden on my family that is too much at this point in their lives and, as a result, I will not be a candidate in the upcoming campaign for mayor. Having worked closely with Mayors in the past, I understand the commitment necessary to properly fill that role, and it is not the right time for me to commit myself wholly to the City at the expense of my family, particularly my young children.

My most enthusiastic cheerleaders encouraging me to jump into this race have been my four children. However, my wife Tina and I have always put our children first and I think that it would be better if the two youngest children were a little older before they make the sacrifices that are required of the families of elected officials. I hope there will be other opportunities for me to run for mayor, but my children will only be kids once.

Having an interest in serving my city is not new to me. I was proud to serve as President of the LA Department of Water and Power Commission for nearly 10 years, and to serve as President of the Police Commission during a very important time for the Department. Serving Mayors Bradley, Riordan, and Hahn was a great honor for me. Having served in those roles, I saw firsthand how important City Hall is to the everyday lives of Los Angeles residents. I have seen how much can be accomplished when the tools available to our leaders are used in a manner focused on solving problems and making our city more livable.

I have also built a business in Los Angeles, and understand from the private sector side, how government can help and also fail those trying to start a business, build a career, and raise their family here in our city. Right now Los Angeles is struggling. The LAPD, despite promises and increased taxes, remains understaffed. Instead of improved transit systems, we see more and more red tail lights. And economic redevelopment and improvements to our most underserved communities continues to lag.

These are very, very tough economic times. This City needs leaders that have a singular focus on improving the quality of life for all Los Angeles residents. There are good people in City Hall, and it is my hope that collectively, they can refocus their efforts on our City's problems in the months ahead so we realize Los Angeles' full potential. This was a very difficult decision for me to reach because of my devotion to this city, but today my role will remain as an interested and active private citizen and I will focus for now on my family, my business, and my community-based charitable activities.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Villaraigosa stories on LA Observed:
Mayor walks out on Antonovich over 'gang-rape' quip
CicLAvia returns to the streets on Sunday
DNC chair does Villaraigosa no favors on KABC
Time jumps on the 'Antonio has revived' bandwagon
Villaraigosa sets sights 'beyond Los Angeles,' NYT observes

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