With little political or policy background businessman Austin Beutner has gotten some plum leadership assignments within the administration of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, including interim chief of the powerful Department of Water and Power. His name is now being floated as a possible mayoral candidate once Villaraigosa leaves office in three years.

Bloomberg reports (via LA Biz Observed) that former Mayor Richard Riordan is saying Beutner is a possible candidate. He also gets the thumbs up from Billionaire philanthropist and sometime king-maker Eli Broad. and Valley leader Ron Kaye. Says Kaye is skeptical:

“He's got the mindset of a takeover artist, someone who comes into a failing business, gets rid of people as fast and efficiently as possible. [Added]: The trouble with that is, this isn't a business.”

Other possible candidates in the rumorsphere include mall developer and former Police Commission member Rick Caruso and City Council President Eric Garcetti.

Beutner, a private equity maven (a former partner at the Blackstone Group) who was perhaps best known for being on the board of the company that controls the National Enquirer, would be somewhat of a political neophyte, however, especially compared to the possible competition.

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