Shopping center developer Rick Caruso told Los Angeles magazine that he was all set to run for mayor last year until his family hesitated. He confirmed for the first time (I think) that his team had actually prepared campaign TV spots — it was previously known that he had looked into booking TV time before dropping out last October. "The way I analyzed it, at the end of the day, there was a slight hesitation on the family’s part, which is fine," Caruso said in his chat with Giselle Fernandez for the magazine's Big Shots video series. "I get to be a dad once. The mayor’s office comes around every four years. If there’s another opportunity down the road and it makes sense and if there’s a meaningful role for me to play — fine we’ll take a look at it. But I love being a dad and I love being a husband and I love being with my family and I didn’t want to sacrifice those precious years and miss that."
In the piece Caruso advises Mayor Eric Garcetti to be bold and to risk his job every day. He also says that traffic remains the city's number one problem and is solvable with enough attention, but he continues to eschew big transit projects like the subway extension. He puts an awful lot of stock in little trolleys like the thing that clangs around the Grove — it's always full, he points out — and he plans to seek permission to extend it down to LACMA and someday to Beverly Center.
Caruso rhapsodizes about the Grove, his top shopping center, as some of community meeting place — a melting pot seemingly divorced from the commerce part. "I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, Catholic or Jewish, whatever you are. You're wealthy, you’re poor, you’re here and you’re enjoying the Grove." He goes on to say the city planning process doesn't reflect that "people want to live and socialize and play and work closer to home. They want more of a sense of community. It’s almost back to the future but our planning process in the city doesn’t allow or support that."
Caruso notes, by the way, that he is no longer a Republican. He re-registered as independent. "I’ve never been a big guy into labels...The Republicans are taking drastic positions and the Democrats are taking drastic positions. I’ve always been a believer that the solutions are somewhere in the middle...the Republican Party in the state of California in particular needs to reinvent themselves."