Karen Bass becomes first woman elected mayor of Los Angeles


LOS ANGELES – U.S. House of Representatives. Karen Bass was elected the next Los Angeles mayor on Wednesday, and she is going through a period of intense self-reflection in the leadership of the nation’s second-largest city as it emerges from a racism scandal and fights for homelessness. seek new answers to seemingly intractable problems such as corruption and corruption.

The Democratic congresswoman defeated billionaire real estate developer and fellow Democrat Rick Caruso to become the first woman elected to lead the city and its second black mayor. Los Angeles’ most expensive game ever, Staying close until the final days of the week-long count, Bass took the lead decisively and never lost her advantage. As of Wednesday night, Bass was leading by more than 6 points, and the Associated Press predicted she would win.

“It has been the honor of my life to be elected your mayor,” Bass wrote in an email to supporters. “As your mayor, I will work for you and I will work with you to ensure our agenda and our administration truly reflect the full diversity of the people of Los Angeles.”

In Los Angeles, a free city Having not elected a Republican mayor in more than two decades, Bass has positioned itself as the progressive option. But she also has the endorsement of the party establishment, winning support from Democratic heavyweights such as former President Barack Obama, President Biden and Vice President Harris. At a rally on election eve, fellow Californian Harris praised Bass for “fighting for those whose voices are not in the room but must be there.”

Still, Bass faces a formidable challenge from Caruso, who is putting $100 million of his own money into the campaign and hoping to capture growing frustration among Angelenos over rising violent crime.

Executive Director Raphael Sonenshein said: “She was out 10 to 1, but her reputation, network, experience and support base proved too much for him to overcome – except for Karen Bass, he could have beaten anyone. “Researcher at the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State University in Los Angeles. “Her coalition opposition could be seen as an overwhelming challenge, not to mention the many local grievances about the state of the city.”

Until recently, Caruso was a registered Republican, and his election would represent a shift to the right for the city.He pledged to expand the city’s police force to record levels and build Provided temporary housing for 30,000 homeless people in his first 300 days in office. Bass called Caruso’s proposal unrealistic and promised to house about 17,000 people in the first year.

In a statement of concession, Caruso said his campaign “had an indelible impact on this city and its people that will last well beyond the campaign trail or Election Day.”

“We’ve raised the voice of the campaign and focused attention on the issues that matter,” he said.

While some of the biggest names in his new party scoff at him, Caruso has landed several high-profile celebrity endorsements in the city of stars, including Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian and Katie Kardashian. Perry.

Perry, who was born in Santa Barbara, shared a selfie of her electronic ballot voting for Caruso, saying she “for countless reasons (see news) but especially because Los Angeles is a messy ATM.”

On this point at least, both candidates agree.

The city’s politics have been dominated by scandal for years, but the latest It made international headlines and shook Los Angeles’ self-proclaimed model multiethnic metropolis to its foundations. Last month, a leaked recording captured four of the city’s most powerful Latino leaders belittling colleagues and making racist remarks about a black child, indigenous immigrants and Jewish residents.

The tape led to the resignations of City Council President Nuri Martinez and local political powerhouse Los Angeles County Labor Federation president Ron Herrera. Two other participants, council members Kevin De Leon and Jill Zedillo, have so far refused to step down. Cedillo is leaving office at the end of the year, and de León, who has long had greater political ambitions, apologized for his role but said he intends to stay on despite objections from top Democrats in California and elsewhere.

Even the White House, which is rarely embroiled in such local political strife, weighed in, calling on everyone on the tape to resign, a day before Biden visited Southern California, where he appeared with Bass to support her candidate qualifications.

Mindy Romero, director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy at the University of Southern California, said the leak was a “typical October surprise.” “It’s just a question of how it’s going to swing, but you know it’s going to affect how at least some people vote.”

In the final debate of the campaign, and the only one since the recording was released, Bass and Caruso agreed that city council members must step down, but debated who was better equipped to unite the city amid the chaotic aftermath.

“Those officials have to resign, but it’s not enough,” Bass said. “We need new direction and new leadership in Los Angeles to make sure we reject the politics of divide and rule.”

Caruso saw the leaked conversation as yet another example of the city’s shady political dealings — four leaders are discussing how to draw new congressional district lines to boost Latino representation, largely to the detriment of interests of black voters.

“They went behind the scenes and carved up the city for their own special interests,” Caruso said during the debate. “The system is broken and there is corruption everywhere.”

Both said the city needs an independent redistricting commission.

Bass, who has worked with some of the characters featured in the tapes over the years, pointed to the track record of her nonprofit, Neighborhood Coalition, which seeks to unite people of different races and ethnicities as a model for urban healing. The group, dubbed “CoCo,” is mentioned several times in the recording as a mockery of black political interests.

“She has a lot of work to do,” Romero said. “It’s bigger than any one person. It’s a breach of public trust that I don’t think we’ve seen in a long time.”

Romero said Bass should think about how to make sure voters see her office as “above everything that’s going on with City Council — we’re not part of the problem, we’re part of the solution, and we’re going to hold City Council accountable.”

Even before the recordings surfaced, Los Angeles was battling a string of stunning scandals: a former city council member was jailed for more than a year for obstructing a corruption investigation; another former member was indicted in the same investigation; and a third former Committee members were charged with participating in another corruption scheme.

The political future of outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti is in jeopardy, and his nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to India remains stalled in the Senate over whether he knew about the allegations against one of his former top advisers. sexual abuse allegations.

With these successive crises overshadowing, Bath may find itself battling a restructured city council that appears poised to welcome at least two local chapters allied with the Democratic Socialists of America at the start of its next term. of new members.

Activist Eunisses Hernandez and labor organizer who beat Cedillo in primary Hugo Soto-Martinez, who held a double-digit lead over incumbent Mitch O’Farrell as of Wednesday, will join current Progressives Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Nithya Raman in a new bloc based on the new mayor’s left-wing ideology.

The 15-member body could become more irascible than ever as the newly powerful left weighs issues such as the recent ban on homeless encampments near schools: Council passes the measure In August, due to the opposition of activists and the negative vote of the most liberal members. Harris-Dawson condemned the move as inhumane and banned camps within 500 feet of schools and day care centers.bass supported limits.

The mayor-elect served as speaker of the California Assembly before entering Congress and was tasked with keeping lawmakers in line as the state grappled with a severe budget shortfall during the Great Recession — an experience of forging a deal across political ideologies that could serve as a catalyst for the next four years. year.

“If anyone has the ability to bring competing parties together, it’s Bass,” Cal State’s Sonenshein said. “Then the question is, can it be translated into the leadership of this executive position?”

He added that this kind of leadership is especially important in addressing the homelessness crisis, “which has become a symbol of how the city and government of Los Angeles can function.”

Bass’ election follows the results of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s race, another big race in the region this year, in which retired Police Chief Robert Luna from Long Beach defeated incumbent Police Chief Alex Villanueva . The ousted sheriff’s four-year tenure was marked by brash leadership and a series of controversies, including clashes with local leaders and a law enforcement oversight board. His critics say he has left the country’s largest sheriff’s department in disarray.

Luna and Bass, two of Southern California’s most high-profile elected officials, will run their respective offices at a time when Los Angeles city and county residents tire of their leaders. Their jobs are different, but they at least have one goal in common: rebuilding public trust.

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