By GAVIN ALEXANDER | Junior Reporter | 3rd Grade, Palisades Elementary Charter School
Ever since I learned the property in the Pacific Palisades Village had been purchased by Rick Caruso, I wanted to meet him and ask him questions.
On Tuesday, April 26 I sat down with Mr. Caruso in his office at The Grove and asked him a number of questions. Mr. Caruso was so nice. He does need our (kids’) help so make sure you read to the very end.
Gavin Alexander: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Rick Caruso: I always wanted to be in business and build buildings, actually, to do what I am doing today.
Gavin: What kids’ entertainment are you planning for the Palisades Village?
Caruso: We plan on having a really cool outdoor park. And in the park we want to do things for moms and kids and dads and kids. So there will be Mommy and Me programs in the morning and kids’ concerts in the afternoon.
It will also be a place to hang out, throw down a blanket, enjoy the day and be with the family—a lot of stuff like we do at our other properties. I’m a big believer in families hanging out together. So the whole idea of this project is for families to be together and hang out with their friends.
Gavin: What stores are there going to be in the Palisades Village?
Caruso: The stores in the Village are going to be super cool, unique stores just for the Palisades. We are going to do a really great ice cream store, have a really great family restaurant, we are bringing back the Bay Theater, a local grocer, stores for kids, a toy store, clothing stores and a really good burger place. It will be a whole different variety of stores.
Gavin: What does it mean to be President of the Police Commission? (Caruso served as President of the LA Board of Police Commissioners for four years.)
Caruso: The President of the Police Commission is actually in charge of the police department. The Chief of Police reports to the Police Commission. It is a really big job. I loved doing that job.
I was there for four years and it’s important because you need to do things in the city to fight crime and keep neighborhoods safe, and that is what I enjoyed the most.
Gavin: What attracted you to want to do a project in the Palisades?
Caruso: I’ve loved the Palisades for a long time. I have four kids, they are older now, but they all played sports in the Palisades. We shopped at Bentons. We used to go to the deli. We knew it very well, and it is close to my home.
I wanted to create something cool for the neighborhood I love and do something that is close to my own home that I could enjoy with my family.
Gavin: Did you have a nickname when you were younger?
Caruso: Yes. I haven’t told many people. It was The Great Garbanzo. I started a club called the Garbanzo Club when I was about your age. My friends used to call me The Great Garbanzo because I loved garbanzo beans.
Gavin: Do you have any advice for kids my age looking to get into business?
Caruso: My advice if you want to get into business is study hard, do your work and then take your time, not be in too much of a rush and find out what you really love to do. If you do what you really love to do then it’s actually never “work.”
I never think about coming to work every day and doing work because I love what I do.
Gavin: What type of security will you have?
Caruso: At the Palisades Village we have a lot of security. My first rule is always keeping everyone safe. We will have our officers on the property and we will have a security room and a security department. We will have cameras around the property making sure everyone is safe. We will work hard to get LAPD officers to be there hanging out with us.
Gavin: How will you address the homeless situation?
Caruso: The homeless situation is a really tough problem in the Palisades and everywhere throughout the city. There are no easy answers on the homeless. We have to find ways to take care of them and be respectful.
But at the same time, we don’t want anybody loitering on the property or causing any problems. We have to deal with it in a way that is respectful but also protects our guests at the property.
Gavin: Who is your role model?
Caruso: My role model was always my dad and he still is. My dad is 94 years old and I look up to him and I love him dearly.
Gavin: What was your first job?
Caruso: My first job was in high school washing cars at a car rental company.
Gavin: What are your hobbies when you are not working?
Caruso: My favorite thing to do when I’m not working is to be with my family. I love being with my kids. I’m with my kids and my wife all the time. I love playing tennis. I have buddies I play tennis with every Saturday. And I like just hanging out and being with my friends.
Gavin: When will the project be done?
Caruso: I’m hoping that we are going to be done if not at the end of 2017 then in 2018. It really depends on when we are allowed to get started.
Gavin: Is there anything my friends and I can do to help with the project?
Caruso: Yes. I want to hear what stores and restaurants you would like to see in the Village.
To my friends and fellow kids in the neighborhood, please email your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t have email tell your mom or dad and have them email me your ideas.