With today's news that Austin Beutner will file as a candidate for mayor, and his exit as a top deputy to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles magazine picked a good time for its profile of Beutner. The story by Gabriel Kahn [fixed] calls Beutner "arguably the most powerful person in the city" over the past year. Yeah, that's arguable, as is his impact in the job. But Beutner certainly has been an interesting addition to the local political scene, and today becomes even more of one. From the piece in the May issue (not yet online):
Fifteen months ago Beutner, a former Wall Street prodigy, didn’t know the mayor. After just three meetings with Villaraigosa, he was charged with managing a vast swath of the city. The mayor came up with a new title for him—first deputy mayor—along with a new office called Economic and Business Policy. He also gave him a hefty mandate: Create jobs, attract businesses, and improve the local economy. Beutner, who had decades of experience in investment banking but none in local government, was granted oversight of 12 city agencies, from the Port of Los Angeles to the Housing Authority. That’s 17,000 employees. His pay: $1 a year.
Beutner might not seem like he’s cut out to steer such a sprawling bureaucracy. He favors gray suits, is reserved in public, and is so soft-spoken that people often lean in to hear what he says. In meetings he’s as likely to nod his head and listen as he is to give orders. But people who have worked with him have been struck by what a quick study he is and by his confidence in his own judgment.
The story tells of a not exactly intimate relationship between deputy mayor and boss. They didn't talk all that much: “His style, his approach, is very different from mine,” Beutner says of the mayor. “I don’t need a lot of adult supervision.”
After the jump: Mayor Villaraigosa's statement on Beutner's departure from the staff.
"At the start of my second term, I promised to make job creation job number one. Austin Beutner accepted the challenge and together we transformed the way this City approaches job creation. As a result, we no longer let the palm trees do our marketing. Together, we’ve made LA more business-friendly, from cutting red tape to providing tax breaks for job creation to engaging in sales calls to our customers.
We have also developed an affluence of innovative economic business policies that have expanded State Enterprise Zones, empowered small businesses, created tax relief for internet companies and new businesses, and designated more investment towards local businesses. Finally, we have had large employers with ripe potential for job growth such as Google, Target, and Mission Foods move to Los Angeles.
The Office of Economic and Business Policy will continue to leverage every City resource at our disposal to attract businesses and the jobs that come with them to Los Angeles. I thank Austin for all of his hard work and wish him well."
Photo: Los Angeles magazine/Dave Lauridsen