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Rick Caruso’s Many Facets

THE VIEW FROM HERE - Predator, scammer, religious bigot, liar, bully, briber, developer are a few of the faces which Rick Caruso has revealed to Angelenos, and none of them are good. 

In elections, however, voters do not weigh facts, but vote for whichever candidate makes a visceral connection.  

Angelenos can look in vain for critical political analysis. Rick Caruso has sent the clear message to all media, “cross me and you won’t get any of the $20 million I am spending on campaign ads.”  If there is one thing which distinguishes LA media, it is not journalistic integrity. Media’s forte is money during campaign season, and afterwards, it’s a being a kiss-ass to the rich and powerful.  In case any media personnel naively throught Caruso would forgive any unkind word, the Superior Court just reminded us what Caruso thinks about free speech.  Caruso banned any political dissent at The Grove.  Public malls cannot allow some candidates to use their forum and then bar others. After Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa A. Beaudet re-acquainted Caruso with America’s long stand rules on free speech, did Caruso agree to abide by the judge’s ruling? No, he is appealing.  While Caruso has a right to appeal, voters should realize what offends him: equal application of the laws to him.  Sept 29, 2022, Los Angeles Daily News, Judge Orders the Grove, Owned by Rick Caruso, to Let People Protest There Against His Race for Mayor, by City News Service

“The judge’s order prohibits the Caruso companies from suppressing political expression by Caruso’s critics with what they say will be quiet displays of signs no larger than those distributed previously by Caruso supporters. One demonstration by up to 30 people between now and the election also is allowed under the order.”   A Caruso company spokeswoman says Caruso will appeal.   

Not only is such free speech allowed in semi-public places like malls, but previously Caruso has used The Grove to stage political events for his candidacy.  In law this is known as “opening the door,” which means you cannot take special advantage and then try to stop another from equal time.  It is a matter of elementary fairness – a concept foreign to bullies like Caruso.   

Caruso’s Motto Seems to Be “Money Uber Alles” 

Money is what counts! Caruso can afford tens of thousands of dollars to shut up free speech by appealing to a higher court. BTW, where is the Los Angeles Times’ follow up story that Caruso lost the first round in court? Maybe, Google just missed it, or maybe the LA Times sensed that upsetting a billionaire on a spending spree is not smart business.   KFI Radio AM 640, however, did print the City News Service article. 

Caruso Is No Savior; He Is a Predator 

When you bring a poisonous snake into your house, don’t be surprised when he bites you.  Just because a politico names a problem does not mean he intends to help you. 

Rick Caruso’s Plans to Gentrify Minority Neighborhood 

Attorneys learn that the opposition often discloses much of its strategy by the questions it asks during a deposition. Similarly, politicos inadvertently tip their hand by some of their campaign promises.  This seems to be particularly true of Rick Caruso who is new to the political arena. Here’s what Caruso has inadvertently disclosed.  He is planning massive destruction of minority neighborhoods in a grandiose scheme to gentrify Los Angeles. 

How We Make this Assessment 

Caruso is repeating his promise to construct hundreds of thousands of affordable units; that is a minimum of 200,000.  The city has only 44,000 homeless. The county already has over 251,000 vacant units.  The city lost over 204,000 people last year and that loss continues a trend which has been underway since 2000.  The major factor causing the exodus has been the densification of the city, especially in The Basin.  Increased density always drives up land value, and hence, prices and rents rise. 

What Will an Additional 200,000 Housing Units Mean? 

A good way to understand the huge scale of his plan is “linear miles of homes.”  We can better conceptualize a series of single family homes next to each other than we can apartments stacked in high rises.  Using 60 foot wide lots, 200,000 homes would stretch 12,000,000 feet (200,000 x 60 = 12,000,000 feet) which is 2,272 linear miles.  If each house were placed side by side, they would stretch over 2,200 miles.  Havana, Cuba is 2,187 miles from LA. 

If each unit had 2.82 persons, 200,000 units would house 564,000 people. 2.82 persons per household is the official number for Los Angeles.  Since there are only 44,000 homeless and the city is losing population, why construct housing for 564,000 people?  

Of course, developers do not plan to construct single family homes since the more units they can squeeze onto a lot, the greater the theoretical profit.  Workers are already rebelling at returning to high rise offices. Twice as many people work at home as ride mass transit.  Thus, the high rises which Caruso developer buddies have constructed in DTLA and else where in the Basin are looking at financial disaster. One counter move would be to construct residential high rises on the bluff to the East of DTLA, e.g. Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights (Why do you think they are named “heights”?). Historically, expansion to the South of DTLA has been desirable as it is flat all the way to San Pedro. The theory is that mass gentrification to the East and South of DTLA will attract back the Family Millennials due to short commutes.  By the time the folly of this approach is reality, the Mexican areas will be long gone – a distant memory like Chavez Ravine, only with no Dodger games to attend.   Zinn Educational Project, Chávez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story 

What Affordable Units Cost Taxpayers 

One project under HHH bonds has per unit costs pegged at $837,000 and the City Controller expects them to go to $1 million each. February 23, 2022, Los Angeles Daily News, by City News Service. HHH Bonds are loans from Wall Street which the taxpayers have to repay at double the loan value.  Caruso plans to use HHH type bonds.  

What will 200,000 units @ $1 Million each cost?  $200 Billion Dollars ($200,000,000,000.00). Pretend they will cost only $500,000 each. That’s $100 Billion Dollars.  The city’s budget for 2022/2023 is only $11.8 Billion. 

How many of the smiling faces in Caruso’s TV advertisements were told of his plans to destroy their neighborhoods in order to use city funds to make his developer buddies even wealthier?  Caruso has put the handwriting on the wall.  All one has to do is read it.

 

(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected].   The opinions expressed by Mr. Abrams are solely his and not necessarily those of CityWatch.)