Hollywood’s Most Insufferable Elites Have Endorsed This Billionaire Entrepreneur for L.A. Mayor

Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Gwyneth Paltrow, Snoop Dogg and others have endorsed Rick Caruso.

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Hollywood’s Most Insufferable Elites Have Endorsed This Billionaire Entrepreneur for L.A. Mayor
Photo:Alexandra Wyman (AP)

Few things feel more dystopian than Kim Kardashian, billionaire reality television mogul and purported prison reform advocate, using Instagram to endorse a self-funded mall-magnate and mass incarceration advocate for Los Angeles Mayor—except for maybe the dozens of other Hollywood elites emerging from their respective Los Angeles County Erewhons and out-of-state summer homes to follow suit.

Today, as billionaire Rick Caruso finally faces off against congresswoman Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) in a highly-publicized primary, he’s drawn the support of celebrities from Elon Musk (fresh off his failing Twitter acquisition) to Gwyneth Paltrow (likely still celebrating another candle collaboration no one asked for in Montecito). Why the race—and this particular candidate—has garnered this much national attention and VIP vote of approval doesn’t require much hypothesizing; in short: Caruso is born-and-bred L.A. aristocracy. To quote Katy Perry’s recent tweet: “RICK CARUSO FTW !”

Meanwhile Bass, a former social worker and longtime community organizer has accumulated her own band of big-name supporters—Ariana Grande, Donald Glover, Steven Spielberg, Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Garner, and J.J. Abrams, chief among them. If elected, Bass would be the first female Mayor of Los Angeles. Her record, though it likely matters little to them, reads like your run-of-the-mill liberal Democrat, which is why many members of the party’s Establishment have backed her. Celebrity endorsements are about all these two have in common, though.

Photo:Sarah Morris / Contributor (Getty Images)

The son of the Dollar Rent-A-Car founder and a billboard model, Caruso stumbled and fell into a successful real estate career—as many nepotism babies tend to do—first as a lawyer and then founder of his own company that developed, owned, and managed properties. Naturally, this included parking lots this his father would lease for Dollar Rent-A-Car. He then moved on to luxury retail and developed the pièce de résistance of L.A. real estate for tourists and some of the worst people you will ever meet: The Grove. That’s right, thanks to Caruso’s ingenuity, you can browse infantile crop tops at Brandy Melville while you wait for the buzzer to announce that your table’s ready at the Cheesecake Factory. Other popular malls soon followed, one of which sparked a protest in 2015 when Caruso’s management company rejected advertisements for a documentary about the Armenian Genocide, deeming it “too political.”

This isn’t Caruso’s first foray into public service: At just 26-years-old, he became the youngest person ever to be appointed by the then-mayor to serve as a commissioner for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and nearly two decades later was elected president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. He also spent the last four years serving as the chairman of the board of trustees at his alma mater, the University of Southern California. The Los Angeles Times wrote that during his tenure, he maintained a “culture of secrecy,” pointing directly to the 2018 George Tyndall case. Tyndell, a university gynecologist, molested thousands of patients at the school’s student health center over the course of 30 years.

But all of that’s mostly beside the point. Just five years ago, the ultra-Catholic, tough-on-crime Caruso was still registered as a Republican, as it had been common knowledge that he had been one for the entirety of his life. It was only this year, and less than a month before filing paperwork to run in the mayoral election, that Caruso even registered as a Democrat, according to the Los Angeles Times. He has a storied history of bankrolling Republican candidates, like John Kasich’s failed bid for president in 2016 and George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004. Most notably, though, Caruso touts Trump ties. He, along with his family, sat front row at a 2015 Republican debate between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Donald Trump. Following the latter’s election, Caruso even served on an economic advisory panel for the former president—though, Caruso isn’t quick to publicly claim such a track record.

“I’m a Democrat, and I’m proud to be a Democrat,” he said when asked by the Los Angeles Times. “What fascinates me is that we’re even having this conversation because the electorate, the voters in the city don’t care about this. What the voters of the city care about is crime and homelessness and corruption.”

Speaking of corruption, Caruso has curried favor even among everyday voters by following a winning GOP strategy: fear-mongering. While no one could argue that displacement in Los Angeles has long been a dire issue (which increasingly horrifying homelessness statistics continue to reflect) Caruso has often conflated them with crime statistics—giving free reign for him to call for more policing in an already heavily-policed city with one of the most bloated budgets in the United States. In February, Caruso said he intended to add 1,500 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department. When it comes to housing solutions for the city’s homeless and displaced community, he praised Fort Bliss—an army camp for undocumented children in Texas that’s infamous for its “gross mismanagement”—as a model for sheltering. That said, all of this appears to be just fine for celebrities like Kardashian. In her stories, she lauded Caruso for his stances on “the homeless issue,” going so far as to assert he can offer a “better path to a better life” for homeless and displaced people in the state. “I really believe in what he stands for, and I was super inspired by him and I really believe in him,” she said. Kardashian also noted that crime—a talking point she, who resides in a gated compound with its own security detail, definitely has authority to speak on—is “such a big issue.”

When it comes to the two most hot-button issues in the race, Bass is emphatically against defunding the police, and her solutions to homelessness—ridding the city of encampments, converting vacant properties into shelters, and constructing permanent housing—have received skepticism from experts.

When asked in an interview on the evening before the primary how she’d handle rising crime rates, Bass said: “I think the right answer is to be smart on crime.” Not exactly a departure from her opponent. She went on to explain that her plan requires getting “them [officers] from behind the desk” and “on the beat immediately in neighborhoods that want to see an increased police presence.” Obviously, Bass isn’t exactly a home run for LA leftists.

As many politicos have already pointed out, it’s anyone’s best guess who will win, and in all likelihood, a conclusive result might not be reached until November. However—as a non-Los Angeles resident with absolutely nothing at stake here—while I’m suspicious of any celebrity endorsement, any candidate who Musk deems “awesome” and Kardashian makes multiple Instagram stories about should always be a non-starter.

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