The battle for the next mayor of Los Angeles is heating up between Bass and Caruso, with Kevin de Leon and Gina Viola playing catch up.
By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor
Rick Caruso has a narrow lead over Karen Bass in the mayoral race in Los Angeles, as both of them are fighting to the finish in the last week of voting, while Kevin de Leon and Gina Viola attempt to climb back in.
As the June 7 voting deadline approaches, Bass and Caruso are running away from the other candidates, with a substantial lead over those behind them. Viola and de Leon are fighting to catch up, no longer having to contend with Joe Buscaino and Mike Feuer, both of whom dropped out of the race in favor of endorsing Caruso and Bass, respectively.
A poll released on May 20 by the Communities United for Bass for L.A. Mayor 2022 showed Caruso with a slim lead over the Congresswoman in a pool of all the candidates. But in another survey featuring just Bass and Caruso, 48 percent of voters favored Bass, with 39 percent on Caruso’s side and 13 percent undecided.
At the forefront of the debate were Bass and Caruso, who had different viewpoints on the central issue of homelessness.
Caruso focuses on tackling the issue by moving the homeless into houses with the help of police officers.
“What you can’t do is say, ‘we’re going to allow certain encampments to be in some parts of this city, in some areas,’ because then you’ll never control it,” said Caruso in the March 22 debate.
Bass made it clear in the debate that she has a larger focus on the mental health issues of those on the streets, only having officers in the background.
“I don’t think that you just move people from one neighborhood to another, because that is going to result in people who are unhoused all being moved into lower income areas,” said the Congresswoman. “You use street outreach workers, you work with them, but if somebody is profoundly mentally ill, they need support … and I certainly don’t think that you arrest them.”
Viola and de Leon, among others, also look to leave their mark on the election and catch up to the frontrunners.
De Leon is banking on the fact that he has already instituted a program to help the homeless as part of his role as councilmember in district 14. The district is just southwest of Pasadena, and has the highest homeless rate of any council district in the city, according to ABC.
The councilman’s program, No Place Like Home, attempts to create permanent housing for those living on the streets through the proposed expansion of Project Homekey and the goal of creating 25,000 units of housing for the homeless by 2025.
Viola, who has been campaigning on the premise of self-proclaimed radical transformation, which includes policies intended to defund the police, recently began to garner more support.
A profound human rights activist, Viola has advocated for the LGBTQ+ community and plans to institute many policies pertaining to equality among all in areas such as health care, social reform and the preservation of indigenous communities.
The vote to determine Eric Garcetti's successor will be held until the June 7 deadline. If no candidate can collect at least 50 percent of the votes, a second poll called a runoff vote will be required to determine the winner.