Karen Bass becomes first woman elected to the office of Los Angeles mayor
Los Angeles LA — U.S. Rep. Karen Bass was elected the new Mayor in Los Angeles on Wednesday, being appointed the mayor of the second-largest city of the country amid a period of intense reflection as the city struggles with an alleged racism scandal and searches for new answers to seemingly unsolvable issues such as homelessness and corruption.
The Democratic congresswoman beat billionaire real property developer and her fellow Democrat Rick Caruso to become the first woman to be elected to the post of mayor and only the second Black mayor.
The race, which was the city’s most expensive ever contest, was close until the last days of the week-long count which is when Bass was able to take a decisive lead and never let her lead slip away. At the time of Wednesday night, Bass held an insurmountable advantage of just a little over six percentage points. The Associated Press projected her as the winner.
“The residents in Los Angeles have sent a unambiguous message: it’s the time to change things and it’s time to act now,” Bass said in an announcement after her victory. “Los Angeles truly is the best city in the world.
I am sure that If we all come together and hold each other accountable , and concentrate on the very best of our personalities and the things we can accomplish We can build better communities today and create a better future for our children.”
The city of Los Angeles, a liberal city that hasn’t had the city’s first Republican mayor for more than 20 years, Bass declared herself to be the liberal candidate. She also had the support of the establishment party and received endorsements from Democratic powerful figures like ex-president Barack Obama, President Biden and Vice President Harris.
At an event in the days leading up to of the presidential election, Harris, a fellow Californian was awed by Bass to her for “fighting for those whose voices aren’t heard present, but have to be heard.”
But, Bass faced a formidable opponent in Caruso who sunk the sum of $100 million from his own funds into the race, and hoped to capitalize on Angelenos who were becoming increasingly frustrated by an increase in violence.
“She was outspent 10 to 1 however her name with her connections, contacts, and experience in the support base proved too strong to overcome. He could have defeated anyone except Karen Bass,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University in Los Angeles.
“Her alliance fought to what might have been perceived as an overwhelming threat, and that’s not even mentioning the general discontent regarding the condition that the city is in.”
Prior to his election, Caruso was a registered Republican and his election could have been a rightward turn to the city. Caruso has promised to boost the police force of the city to records and to construct temporary housing to house 30000 homeless residents in the first 30 days of his office. Bass has criticized Caruso’s plans as unrealistic and promised to provide housing for 17,000 residents during the first year of her term.
In a concession statement, Caruso said his run “made an impact that will be indelibly etched on the city and its citizens that will continue long after election day as well as Election Day.”
“We increased the intensity of the campaign and concentrated attention on the matters that matter,” he said.
Although some of his latest big names from the party snubbed Caruso, he also received extravagant endorsements from the city of stars, including Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry.
Perry of Santa Barbara, shared a photo from her vote for Caruso. The caption reads: “I had voted for Caruso “for various reasons (see the latest news) however, in the main, because Los Angeles is a hot and messy place at the moment.”
On this point on the whole, at least both candidates were in agreement.
The city’s political system has been beset by scandals for many years however, the most recent scandal was a major story in the news and shook the foundations of the city’s self-proclaimed identity as a multiethnic city that is exemplary.
A leak of a recording revealed some of Los Angeles’s most influential Latino leaders dissing their colleagues and making racist comments concerning an Black child Indigenous immigrants, indigenous residents as well as Jewish residents.
The tape was the catalyst for a resignation by City Council President Nury Martinez and Ron Herrera, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor which is the local political powerhouse. The two other participants Council officials Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo are the only two who have refused to step down.
Cedillo was scheduled to quit his post at the end of the year. de Leon, who has had a long-standing political ambition to be a grinder apologized for his actions but stated that he plans to keep his seat despite opposition from high-ranking Democrats from California and beyond.
The White House, which rarely engages in a local political conflict, joined in, urging everyone who was recorded to step down, one day prior to Biden’s trip in Southern California, where he made an appearance with Bass to support her presidential candidacy.
This leak is “the ultimate October-related surprise,” said Mindy Romero Director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy at the University of Southern California. “The problem was what the outcome would be interpreted, but you were aware that it would affect at the very least, how certain people were able to vote.”
In the final discussion of the campaign as well as the sole one to follow the release of the album, Bass and Caruso agreed that council members were required to go, but disagreed over who was best placed to bring the city together after the saga of.
“Those officials should be removed, but that’s just insufficient,” Bass said. “We require a fresh direction for L.A. and a new leadership who will ensure we do not follow the path of division and rule.”
Caruso described the leak as yet another instance of unsavory politics in the city. The four council members were discussing ways to draw new district lines for the council in order to increase Latino representation, but largely at the expense of Black voters.
“They were in an underground room to cut out the city to serve their own personal needs, and for their own,” Caruso said during the debate. “The city’s system has been ruined and is filled with corruption.”
Both of them said that the city should have an independent redistricting commission.
Bass has been working for years with some of those involved in the tape. She cited the long-standing relationship with her non-profit organization, called the Community Coalition, which seeks to bring people together across racial and cultural boundaries, to serve to create a model for healing within the city.
The group, dubbed “CoCo,” was mentioned numerous times in the record as a humorous abbreviation for Black political or political interests.
“She has plenty of work to do,” Romero said. “This is much more significant than a single person. This is a breach of trust in the public at a degree I’m not sure we’ve seen for a while.”
Bass, Romero said, should be considering ways to ensure that voters view that her position is “above any other decision made by the city council and that we’re not the cause. We’re part of the solution and we’ll ensure that the city council is accountable.”
Prior to the release of the audiotape, Los Angeles was battling the rigors of scandal that included a ex-member of the city council sentenced to a more than one year of federal jail for obstruction of an investigation into corruption; a second former council member was indicted in that similar investigation as well as a third council member accused of another corruption scheme.
The political future of the incoming city manager, Eric Garcetti, is in doubt, as his proposed nomination to be U.S. ambassador to India is still in the Senate in the wake of questions regarding whether he knew about sexual assault allegations about one of his previous top advisors.
In addition to the gloom that these crises have wrought, Bass will likely find herself battling a new city council that appears ready to welcome at minimum two new members that are aligned by the local branch of the Democratic Socialists of America when the next term starts.
The activist Eunisses Hernandez who beat Cedillo during the primaries and also labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez, who had an advantage of double-digits against the incumbent Mitch O’Farrell as of Wednesday and will join current progressives Marqueece Harris-Dawson as well as Nithya Raman to form an ideological bloc in the direction of the newly elected mayor.
The 15-member body is likely to become more volatile than ever before since the increasingly powerful left-wing takes on issues such as the new ban that was recently imposed on homeless camps close to schools. The council voted to pass the measure in August despite opposition from activists and disaffected votes from its more liberal members. Harris-Dawson criticized the measure which bans camping that are within 500 yards of schools as well as day-care centers, as a crime against humanity. Bass agreed with the restraints.
The new mayor, prior to her stint in Congress was Speaker in the California Assembly and was tasked with keeping the Assembly in order when the state was navigating an enormous budget deficit through the Great Recession — an experience that forged lines across ideologies and political parties that could inform the next four years.
“If there’s anyone who has the ability to unite opposing factions, it’s Bass,” said Cal State’s Sonenshein. “Then it’s a matter of: could that transform into leadership when you take on the position of executive?”
This leadership will be particularly crucial in dealing with the problem of homelessness the spokesman said. He added that it “has turned into the emblem for how well city hall and all government agencies throughout L.A. can function well.”
The election of Bass follows the results of her election following results from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s race which was the other big contest of the year that saw a former Police chief of Long Beach, Robert Luna beat incumbent Alex Villanueva. The four years that the sheriff was removed from office were characterized by his uncompromising management style and a slew of scandals which included disputes with local officials as well as an oversight board for law enforcement. Some critics claim he’s abandoned the country’s biggest sheriff’s bureau in a state of disarray.
Luna and Bass Two of the most prominent politicians of Southern California, will take the reins of the respective office at a point where the residents from Los Angeles — the city and the county — are dissatisfied with their elected officials. Their roles are distinct however, they’ll have a common objective: restoring confidence in the public.