Says he will focus on addressing homelessness and says, “I would love to see Congresswoman Karen Bass enter Mayor’s race”
Mark Ridley-Thomas is undefeated as a candidate for elected office. Over the past 30 years, Ridley-Thomas has been a councilman, a member of the California Assembly, the California Senate, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and is now serving his final term as a councilmember for the 10th District for the City of Los Angeles. For many in South Los Angeles and throughout all of Los Angeles, most believed Mayor would be a fitting title for a man who has established himself throughout the city, county, and state as a relentless warrior for the underserved. A ferocious campaigner for political office and an honorable leader who works tirelessly for the service of all.
So, when Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas announced Monday that he will not be running for mayor, it was a shock to many and a relief for those who have been considering running for the seat.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, in an exclusive sit-down interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel says, “Thirty years of working as an elected official is enough and that he has no plans for running for another political office.” What he wants to do is spend his time and energy addressing the unprecedented homeless crisis that we have here in Los Angeles and throughout the state. “If we don’t address this now and get a comprehensive plan together, the problem is just going to get worse,” says Ridley-Thomas. He says that he doesn’t believe he can cure the problem, but he does feel that he can make an impact in addressing the problem. “I never thought I could cure all of the medical issues that face our community, but if you look at what I was able to accomplish by re-opening Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, there is no doubt I was able to have an impact.” It is that type of unapologetic and forward thinking that is needed to address the un-housed here in Los Angeles. Thomas is confident that with the right focus and a massing of city, state, and federal resources that he can have a serious impact in addressing this issue.
Ridley-Thomas says that at this point in his career his “calling and focus is that of the homeless crisis in the city of Los Angeles, and I will double down and lean in on that particular issue.” He says right now, he believes he can have the greatest impact on this issue as a member of the city council and chair of the powerful committee that is currently leading the efforts to house thousands of people now living on the streets of Los Angeles.
When asked, if not him, who would he like to see be the next mayor of Los Angeles, he immediately offered up the suggestion of Congresswoman Karen Bass. Ridley-Thomas says while the overwhelmingly popular congresswoman has not entered the race, and that he has not had any conversation with her about running, he believes “she has the character, track record, the understanding of the issues and the leadership qualities needed to guide this city into the future.”
This obviously led to the next question, if Congresswoman Bass is elected Mayor, would he then consider a run for congress? He reiterated his previous response, “I have no intentions of seeking another elected office” and the councilman was adamant that what he now wants to focus on both while in city hall and after, is addressing the homeless crisis here in Los Angeles.
Ridley-Thomas said, “Her [Karen Bass] candidacy for mayor is compelling. She is already a history maker and if she were to become mayor, she would make history again.”
To date, City Attorney Mike Feurer, Councilman Joe Buscaino and real estate agent, Mel Wilson have all announced their candidacy. It is rumored that Council President Nury Martinez is also considering a run for mayor as well as Councilmembers Kevin De Leon and Paul Krekorian.
Following Ridley-Thomas’s announcement of not running for Mayor, Congresswoman Bass released this statement.
“Mark Ridley-Thomas is a living legacy of life-long courageous leadership and selfless public service to the people of the City of Los Angeles. The passion he had when we worked as activists together in South Los Angeles more than 40 years ago has never wavered nor waned – not when he served in Sacramento and not when he served as County Supervisor. His impact can be seen all throughout South Los Angeles. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital is not only serving our community again but saving lives daily in the midst of a public health disaster. The first-of-its-kind Reentry Opportunity Center has offered opportunities to folks from our community to better our neighborhoods. Biotech, infrastructure, and housing investments are all being made in our community. While I respect Mark’s decision not to run for mayor, Los Angeles is grateful and fortunate that he continues to serve us on the city council and continue his work to address the housing crisis.”
While Congresswoman Bass has not addressed the idea of running for mayor, her candidacy would make anyone considering entering the race to rethink their consideration; she would undoubtedly be the front runner to succeed current Mayor Eric Garcetti. If Bass were to win, she would be the second African American (Tom Bradley was the first) and first woman to be elected Mayor of the city. An idea that is not improbable given that the current Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is all-female and that women across the country have been elected and leading major cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, and Atlanta in recent years.
“I am hopeful that Karen will run for mayor. We need a strong leader like her to move our city forward. We couldn’t have a better candidate if she decides to run,” stated Charisse Bremond-Weaver, president of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade.
Congresswoman Bass has confirmed that she has been recruited to run for mayor. Bass is extremely popular throughout Los Angeles and throughout the state. She was the sponsor of Congressional bill H.R. 1280 – The George Floyd Justice in policing Act of 2021, which passed in the house on 3/3/21, she was considered by then candidate and now President Joe Biden as a potential vice presidential running mate as well as had been considered by Governor Gavin Newsom for appointment to the U.S. Senate seat to replace now Vice President Kamala Harris. Her broad appeal from progressives and liberals to independents voters, both young and old, makes her a prime candidate to potentially lead the nation’s most populous and diverse city.
“The City of Los Angeles voters will be looking to support a mayor who can solve two main issues, homelessness and crime in the next election. Congresswoman Karen Bass is uniquely qualified to address them both,” stated Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer.
While Garcetti’s official term does not end until December 2022, he has been nominated by the Biden administration to become the U.S. Ambassador of India, pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate. This could lead to an early vacancy which would need to be filled via an appointment of an interim mayor by the city council.
The appointment of an interim mayor gets more complicated since several of the councilmembers are considering running for mayor, and none of them want to allow the other to run and have the advantage of being called the incumbent or have the title of Mayor on their political literature. This quandary has opened conversations about people like former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Council President Herb Wesson as candidates to fill Garcetti’s seat for a year assuming Garcetti is confirmed by the Senate and the interim agrees not to run for mayor in 2022.
Who will be Los Angeles next mayor is wide open, both for the short term and the long term. But what we know is that Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas will not be one of the candidates vying for that title. Since it won’t be Ridley-Thomas, the question remains, “will it be Karen?” Stay tuned.