Billionaire developer Rick Caruso has thrown his hat into the ring in the race to become Los Angeles’ next mayor.
KTLA spoke with the mayoral candidate, who broke down why he’s running and discussed his plans for tackling crime and homelessness in the city.
“We’re in a time of crisis, I think we have to just call it what it is, with rampant homelessness, with the rising crime that we have, you have corruption in city hall — I just felt it was the time that I could serve, give back to the community, do some good,” Caruso said.
Critics have said that Caruso’s wealth and privilege may insulate him from the challenges of everyday people.
“He comes from a part of town where they don’t know about people who suffer. They don’t know about people who go hungry. They don’t have any idea about what it is to struggle,” former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who supports mayoral candidate Karen Bass, told the Los Angeles Times.
Asked about the criticism, Caruso pointed to his immigrant family roots and the philanthropic work he has done in L.A.
“I do know that I came from immigrant grandparents that landed in Boyle Heights and our roots were very, very regular, and struggled hard. My grandfather was a gardener and I remember the struggles of my grandparents. I also started my own business, it was a small business. And along the way, I’ve created thousands of jobs and help support many, many hundreds of small businesses. And I have given along with my wife, tens of millions of dollars, in the inner city.”
Caruso also addressed his plans for tackling the homelessness crisis, one of the top issues for L.A. voters.
The mayoral candidate said his plans involve quickly building temporary housing, erasing “the overload of restrictions” on housing in the city and giving incentives to build housing.
“The problem is not lack of money. The problem is lack of management, lack of leadership, lack of expertise in making executive decisions,” Caruso said. “None of the people I’m running against have ever run an enterprise have ever run a business have ever had to be accountable for a budget.”
Caruso has also previously announced that he wants to add 1,500 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“We will set our priorities in the city’s budget to fight crime. It has to be a priority,” he told KTLA.
Caruso also criticized L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón.
“George needs to change his policies, he needs to stand up and say ‘I made some mistakes, I’m going to do things differently to curb crime,’ or he needs to step down, or he needs to be recalled,” Caruso said.
This segment on the KTLA 5 Morning News at 8 on Feb. 22, 2022. KTLA will be reaching out to the other candidates throughout the election.