Mr. Caruso seems poised to take a greater role in the city’s affairs. : MONTECITO, Calif. — Rick J. Caruso was getting excited. In a few weeks, the real estate mogul’s beachside resort in Montecito would open its doors, and the project, more so than his others in Los Angeles, was a personal one. The family crest is etched above the outdoor fireplace. The booths in one of the restaurants are inspired by Perino’s, a long-shuttered Hollywood eatery where Mr. Caruso hung out. The sundries shop is run by his friend Gwyneth Paltrow.