It wasn’t quite déjà vu, but downtown’s most civic-minded investment banker hit upon something close as he enjoyed some octopus on the edge – a plate of the stuff served up to Lloyd Greif at a window-side table at 71Above in the U.S. Bank Tower on 5th Street. The subject was the search for a new president of USC – and Rick Caruso’s leadership of the task. The man behind the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC’s Marshall School of Business recalled another time and institution served well by Caruso. It was LAPD back in 2002, when Caruso headed the L.A. Police Commission and led the search that landed William Bratton in the chief’s job. Bratton soon led LAPD on a remarkable rebound from the corrosive years of the Rampart scandal, with the institution racking up gains in terms of performance and perception as crime rates dropped dramatically and community ties strengthened significantly. Greif has an MBA from Marshall, and also serves on its Board of Leaders, which makes it little wonder that he’s mixing sincere hope with a “Fight On” brand of confidence as Caruso heads USC’s search amid the fallout of recent scandals of its own. “Rick’s integrity is beyond reproach, he’s a strong, decisive leader, and he bleeds cardinal and gold,” said Greif, after noting the real estate developer’s track record. “The University has persevered for nearly one and a half centuries, and it will survive this, too.” … I didn’t make it back to 71Above for the 4th of July fireworks – the place opens on the holiday to press its obvious 360-degree advantage. I did find myself traveling right up the middle of the city on the 110 on the night of the holiday, when the number and quality of the public and private pyrotechnic displays punctuating the skyline indicated more disposable income in more neighborhoods of L.A. than we’ve seen in some time … Will Independence Day go down as a prelude to a big year-end-holiday market or a last hurrah before trade disputes take a toll on our economy? See page 68 for more in this week’s Commentary … Don’t know if it’s the move to El Segundo or whether national advertising contracts stayed with Tribune Publishing after it sold the L.A. Times to Patrick Soon-Shiong. Do know the Times print editions were awfully light on national and local advertising in the days leading up to the 4th of July … The days leading up to the holiday also saw former UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian step into her new role as president of Quinnipiac University in New York, and a note she sent to supporters made her feelings quite clear when she used quotation marks in mentioning her “last” day at the business school had arrived. Such an economical way to deliver such depth of emotion – and such big shoes to fill on another academic post that will no doubt draw an A-list of candidates from across the nation … Sullivan Says: Ever-provocative L.A. Times Op-Ed contributor Gustavo Arellano also stands out for his food writing in the summer edition of Alta, the “Journal of Alta California” from Will Hearst.

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