Author: Carl

Kevin de Leon is the man with the “big ideas”

Kevin de Leon is the man with the "big ideas"

Column: Kevin de León is on an apology tour. When will he realize it’s a farewell tour?

Kevin de Leon has a plan to get out of the way when he finishes his presidential campaign.

Annie Karnik

Kevin de Leon, the mayor of Los Angeles, is gearing up to exit the presidential field in 2016.

He won’t be the first one who’s done this: As he’s begun selling himself to voters, de Leon has said he’s the man with the “big ideas.” He wants to make the National Football League a nonprofit, a tax-deductible nonprofit sport; he wants to close all the California jails and turn them into community centers; he thinks we can feed 50 million more people on a trillion-dollar budget.

But when he’s done, he’s going to want to be out of the way. What de Leon calls his “big idea,” he says, is not about the NFL but about the state.

“California has a tremendous opportunity,” de Leon told me on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. “By taking advantage of the opportunities of California, America, and our country, we not only grow the number of our citizens, we create more wealth, create more jobs, create more economic growth, our standard of living will increase.”

“California is what it looks like — it’s not what it’s like,” he says, and if his big idea is like anything about this country in its last seven years, it’s not about change; it’s about continuity.

“If you look at all the leaders I’ve been around over the course of my career, they’re all fighting for some change,” he says. “Change happens around you, but I think we’re too much in the mindset of it’s us versus them. Too much of our leadership is about me versus the other guys. I’ve been very lucky to lead a state that has always been open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

“That’s why I’m taking a different approach,” he says. “I’m going to go out with something that’s a big idea to get out of the way.”

It’s not what you think it is.

“We can make it a whole lot better.”

But first he has a big idea

If de Leon has a

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