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“Frustrated’ Developer Slams City Hall

INSIDE POLITICS - For developer and wannabe mayor Rick Caruso, this is the best of times. Or maybe the worst.

His speech last week to Town Hall Los Angeles could have been written in 1993 for his one-time booster Mayor Richard Riordan, or delivered by 2005 mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa with its emphasis on becoming business-friendly, shaking up City Hall and demanding reform of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Riordan, who is now backing former first deputy mayor Austin Beutner, found it difficult to make more than small steps on business reform. Villaraigosa has learned the hard way that pushing school reform is easier said than accomplished.

But for now, Caruso is able to take shots at City Hall.

And he has taken his shots.

In a speech he billed as his vision for the city, Caruso described himself as "frustrated ... and pained" at what he sees happening in the city.

"Our current political class often seems to be incapable of even recognizing the scope of the city's challenges - let alone challenging them," Caruso said.

Caruso said he recognizes that government is not a business, but 15 times he mentioned the need to retain business or make the city more business-friendly or reminded the public that businesses vote by deciding whether to locate in a particular city.

And he took shots, indirectly, at potential challengers.

Apparently referring to city officials like Controller Wendy Greuel, Councilwoman Jan Perry   and

Councilman Eric Garcetti he said: "We need decisive leadership, which brings people together to achieve meaningful change. We don't need political lifers who've held on to their government paychecks by glorifying process over results."  (The rest of Rick Orlov’s Tip Off)

(Rick Orlov is a Daily News staff writer. His column, Tipoff, appears on Mondays. For a daily fix on politics, visit the Sausage Factory at To contact him write to -cw

Vol 9 Issue 39
Pub: May 17, 2011