Sure sounds like it, at least judging by the tweets from the City Maven's Alice Walton and the LAT's Maeve Reston during his luncheon appearance at Town Hall Los Angeles. Caruso declined to say whether he'll be running in 2013, but he apparently sounded like a candidate. "What's happening in Los Angeles is frankly painful to me," said the developer, who spent much of 2008 pondering a challenge to the incumbent Villaraigosa. He wound up taking a pass, which might have been a mistake considering how much trouble the mayor had with a lightweight field (and how formidable the 2013 field is likely to be). During today's speech Caruso was taking shots at the city's leadership void, which is certainly valid but hardly something we don't already know. He said that LAX is like a Third World airport, which is not true, and that the business tax holiday is a bad idea, which is true. Whether any of these tidbits will eventually add up to an actual campaign is a question he obviously doesn't want to answer at this early stage. I'm getting the full speech in a bit.
*Some snippets from Caruso's speech:
There aren't any silver bullets. Big projects like football stadiums get the headlines, but no single project can even come close to having the same impact on our economy as smart, business-friendly reform of our tax and regulatory climate. We must also educate people that the word "industrial," as in industrial land use, is not a dirty word. It's a green word - green and lush with jobs, tax revenues and growth. And we must start by reviewing the structure of City government itself. There are somewhere around 40 City departments, bureaus and commissions - to be honest, I've lost count. It's a bureaucratic nightmare.
I'm not someone who'll say you can "run government like a business." They're just not the same thing, and successful executives often fail in high government positions because they're unable to adapt to those basic differences. But I do believe that too often there's a lack of personal accountability in government that wouldn't survive in a well-managed business. You must hire strong managers, and support them as they pursue ambitious objectives. But if they're not up to the task, you have to be ready to act.