After 15 months on the job, Austin Beutner, 51, is out as first deputy mayor and CEO of the Office of Economic and Business Policy and in as a candidate for the 2013 mayor’s race.
In a written statement announcing the launch of his exploratory campaign, Beutner said:
I love Los Angeles and I’m passionate about what’s possible for this city. We need to create jobs, put our people back to work and retool our economy for the future.
I have a proven track record in both the private and public sectors. I bring to the table a working knowledge of city government and how jobs are created in the private sector. Getting government to support and work together with the private sector will create good-paying jobs here in Los Angeles.
This is going to be a grassroots effort to reconnect City Hall to the city we serve. I am going to begin by reaching out in every community and every neighborhood of LA, and I intend to do more listening than talking.
Up until today, Beutner had been the jobs czar of Los Angeles, working for $1 a year, which he was able to do thanks to his financial success as a partner at Blackstone and co-founder of Evercore Partners.
He joined the mayor’s office in January 2010, and was immediately tasked with overseeing the three proprietary departments — Water and Power, LAX, Port of Los Angeles — creating jobs and making the city business-friendly.
A statement from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calls Beutner’s leave a retirement and suggests that the massive undertaking of turning around Los Angeles’ economy is done:
At the start of my second term, I promised to make job creation job number one. Austin Beutner accepted the challenge and together we transformed the way this City approaches job creation. As a result, we no longer let the palm trees do our marketing. Together, we’ve made LA more business-friendly, from cutting red tape to providing tax breaks for job creation to engaging in sales calls to our customers.
We have also developed an affluence of innovative economic business policies that have expanded State Enterprise Zones, empowered small businesses, created tax relief for internet companies and new businesses, and designated more investment towards local businesses. Finally, we have had large employers with ripe potential for job growth such as Google, Target, and Mission Foods move to Los Angeles.
The Office of Economic and Business Policy will continue to leverage every City resource at our disposal to attract businesses and the jobs that come with them to Los Angeles. I thank Austin for all of his hard work and wish him well.”
Beutner joins a field of candidates that already includes Controller Wendy Greuel, city Councilwoman Jan Perry, radio talk show host Kevin James and energy/utility analyst YJ Draiman.