California TodayImageRick J. Caruso seems poised to take a greater role in Los Angeles affairs.CreditCreditRozette Rago for The New York TimesGood mor
Property Flat Villa real estate California TodayImageRick J. Caruso seems poised to take a greater role in Los Angeles affairs.CreditCreditRozette Rago for The New York TimesGood morning.(Here’s the sign-up, if you don’t already get California Today by email.)This week, my colleague Tim Arango profiled the real estate mogul Rick Caruso, whose influence in Los Angeles has spread from the Department of Water and Power and the Police Commission to U.S.C., where he has helmed the board of trustees through a turbulent time for the university.Now, he’s not ruling out a run for mayor. Tim spoke to him about how he’d approach the gig: Mr. Caruso, 60, has built a fortune putting his stamp on the physical landscape of Los Angeles — his most famous property is the Grove — and secured a position as an important civic leader.He’s thought about running for mayor in the past, and says he may consider it again.Mr. Caruso had plenty more to say about how he sees politics in Los Angeles, and where his thinking is on the city’s challenges.“I think it is one of the world’s best cities,” he said. “I just think it could be more livable. I think you need to design a city that allows people to, like I said, slow down and enjoy their life a little bit.”A mayor’s powers in Los Angeles are weaker compared with those in some other major cities. “You’d have to be able to effectively use, for lack of a better word, the bully pulpit, where you don’t have clear direct authority,” he said.Referring to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he added: “I think it worked well in New York with Bloomberg. Bloomberg had a big voice, and he used it.”He ticked off what some of his priorities would be: crime, homelessness, cleanliness, being more business friendly, expanding city parks.“It’s basic stuff,” he said. “I think that good mayors deal with basic stuff that the community is touching and dealing with every day.”Here’s what else we’re following(We often link to sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times stories, but we’d also encourage you to support local news if you can.)ImageMacArthur Commons, a high density housing complex under construction next to the MacArthur BART station in Oakland. The complex is the kind of development that S.B. 50 seeks to encourage.CreditJim Wilson/The New York TimesOn housing and homelessness:• State Senator Scott Wiener’s S.B. 50 cleared a hurdle on Wednesday after a tense debate and compromises: Smaller communities and cities on the coast would be less affected by provisions mandating denser zoning, but single-family zoning would be eliminated in many places. [The Los Angeles Times]• San Francisco’s Port Commission gave a unanimous go-ahead to a proposed large homeless services center and shelter on the Embarcadero. But the vote came during a long meeting, and opponents say they intend to mount a legal fight. [The San Francisco Chronicle]• Nationally, Democrats like Senator Kamala Harris are targeting voters who don’t own homes. Because renters are mad. [The New York Times]In other news:• In 2011, California prisons underwent sweeping reforms aimed at decreasing the population of inmates. Known as realignment, the reforms were controversial in part because it sent many to county jails instead. Now, an investigation found, those jails are deadlier. In just two days last year, three men were booked into Fresno County jail. Two died soon after and one left in a coma. [ProPublica]• “We’re sorry that it happened.” The brother of Isaiah Peoples, who is accused of deliberately plowing into a crowd, injuring eight people, at a bustling Sunnyvale intersection, said Mr. Peoples was an Iraq veteran who had struggled with PTSD. [The Mercury News]• The state spent $6.3 million on a passageway intended to help protect fish. So why did a bunch of them wash up dead? The question also raises broader ones about the effectiveness of some of former Gov. Jerry Brown’s projects in the Delta. [The Sacramento Bee]• Facebook said it expected to be fined a record $5 billion after months of negotiations with federal regulators over privacy violations. But that’d still be a fraction of its $56 billion in annual revenue. [The New York Times]• And, if you missed it, Facebook engineers developed an online learning platform funded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. They brought it to underfunded schools in Kansas. It did not go well: “We’re allowing the computers to teach and the kids all looked like zombies.” [The New York Times]ImageThe three varietals of Soylent Squared.CreditPatricia Wall/The New York Times• Soylent, the start-up that promised a meal-replacement drink to Silicon Valley types who were too busy to eat, is branching out into a new product: food. [The New York Times]• Owners of Church & State, the French restaurant that was among the first to make Downtown L.A.’s Arts District a hip dining destination a decade ago, said its final service will be this weekend. [Eater Los Angeles]• Love The Times’s crosswords? Will Shortz, The Times’s Crosswords editor and Joel Fagliano, digital puzzles editor, will be in San Francisco on May 6, when they’ll field questions and host a game. Get tickets here. [Times Events]And Finally …ImageNot far from the Stanford University campus, which is open to the public, there is a large, pristine park that is not. CreditThor Swift for The New York TimesAs I mentioned, I’m in the Bay Area this week. Right now, I’m in Palo Alto, where the sun is shining, the trees are tall and lush — and there is a pristine 1,400-acre public park that, as a nonresident of this city, I’m not allowed to visit.The San Francisco Chronicle has the story of a law on the city’s books dating to the 1965 opening of Foothills Park, and it appears to be the only publicly owned park in the state that specifically excludes nonresidents.Of course, the story says, “accusations that it’s elitist, discriminatory or just plain wrong” are nothing new; every few years, a debate resurfaces about whether to wipe the restriction off the books. But city officials didn’t seem likely to pick it back up any time soon.In the meantime, for what it’s worth, the ordinance is mainly enforced only on the weekends.California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.