As Nov. 8 fast approaches, Congresswoman Karen Bass continues to lead in the race for mayor of Los Angeles and she has no plans to slow down.
During a briefing with the Black press on Oct. 24, Bass outlined her focus for the next two weeks as well as shared an update on some of the activities that she has recently engaged in. Unsurprisingly, her main emphasis is on voting.
While optimistic about her chances of victory, Bass said, “We still need to work 24-7 until the election ends on Nov. 8. Election Day has already started. It started a couple of weeks ago when the ballots were first mailed. So, we really want to get the message out to people to vote now!”
Regarding the attacks against her leveled by her opponent, billionaire developer Rick Caruso, the congresswoman believes her reputation can withstand the malicious assaults.
“Caruso has used his money to misrepresent himself and to misrepresent me and his focus has been to try to attack my character. The good news is people do know me. I have a strong track record and this person they are trying to introduce doesn’t really fit with what people have known and seen [about me] over the years,” she noted.
The front-runner also weighed in on the turmoil that Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León caused by joining former Council President Nury Martinez and former L.A. County Fed President Ron Herrera in maligning colleagues with racist language and plotting to strip assets and political power from districts represented by African American councilmembers. The L.A. Times first reported and released the audiotape revealing the statements made by the four in Oct. 2021.
“I was mortified, just like everybody else, when you heard the tapes, all of the racial stuff – they hit so many different categories. More disturbing than their comments was what they were actually doing, which is carving up the city in a way that really could have wiped out Black elected officials on the City Council,” she said.
Three days after the audio was leaked, Bass convened a session with Black, Latino and other civic leaders to outline strategies to maintain the trust and unity developed through decades of coalition building between the various communities.
Aiming to go beyond simply discussing the issues, Bass said she hopes the group will lead to “raising issues such as structural inequity in our city” – a situation she attributes to the City Council dividing resources in 15 districts. “We need to use this conflict as an opportunity to solve some structural problems with in our city,” said Bass.
On the issue of homelessness, the candidate cited her news conference on Oct. 24, with Councilmember Curren Price, which highlighted the potential of constructing affordable housing on vacant city land. In conjunction with Southwest Carpenters and the firm, Urban Awnings, Bass and Price displayed a prototype of a unit, which she said, “could be built cheaply and very rapidly.”
“This model had a kitchen, bathroom and a loft area and you could build 20 units on this property. They said it would take eight months from beginning to end and each unit would be under $200,000. This is housing that could be built very quickly with union-paid jobs,” insisted Bass.
“The point is you know the number one reason why I’m running is because of the 40,000 people on the street – the extreme disproportionate number sleeping on the street are African American. My concern is that some of them on the street on any given day don’t wake up. So, I wanted to show that there is a way get housing built quickly.”
She added that her ultimate focus is on establishing a “robust program” that prevents homelessness, immediately moves unhoused individuals into living quarters or temporary housing, offers “permanent supportive housing to those people who need it,” and eventually cycles those individuals back into the mainstream housing market.
Also underscored by Bass was her rally on Oct. 27 with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is supporting her campaign for mayor of Los Angeles.
Earlier this month, Senator Sanders endorsed Rep. Bass, saying: “At a time when Los Angeles and cities across the country are facing major challenges, we need bold leaders who will stand up to big money interests and put the priorities of working people first. For that reason Karen Bass, a long-time leader in the struggle for economic, social and racial justice, is the clear choice for mayor of Los Angeles.
“She is taking on a billionaire developer who is way out of touch with the challenges facing low-income and working families. Karen will work to end homelessness, make housing more affordable, create good paying jobs, lower the crime rate and build a diverse coalition that brings people together to take on the challenges that the city faces. I’m proud to endorse Karen, and am confident that she will be a great mayor.”