With nine months left until the new mayor is elected, the race is down to a handful of candidates.
By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor
The Los Angeles mayoral election, taking place in November 2022, is down to a few major candidates with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) as the perceived frontrunner, four others polling behind her.
In addition to Bass, city attorney Mike Feuer and city councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Kevin De Leon have earned support for the upcoming election. Billionaire real-estate mogul Rick Caruso also declared his candidacy for the position, claiming eight percent of likely voters, according to the LA Times.
The candidates have set out to convince people that they are what the city needs, expressing the reason for their interest in becoming mayor.
“Over five years ago, Los Angeles voters were asked to raise taxes on themselves to give politicians and bureaucrats the resources to tackle homelessness,” said Caruso on his campaign page. “Voters acted. Citizens did their part. What did they get in return from the politicians and bureaucrats? Failure. Only a handful of beds have been built. And the crisis has since exploded.”
About four months before the primary election on June 7, Bass leads polling with about 32 percent of decided voters. Caruso and de Leon are tied for second with eight percent. Feuer and Buscaino each have four percent.
However, a Bass victory is far from certain, since 40 percent of voters remain undecided.
If elected, Bass would be the city’s first elected female mayor. She would also be the city’s second black mayor after Thomas Bradley, who served from 1973-1993.
Bass has already earned endorsements from many public figures, including former democratic mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).
With homelessness as one of the most pressing issues of the City of Angels, the candidates have set out to find ways to help people living on the streets. As of September, Los Angeles had the fourth worst rate of homelessness in the United States behind three other California cities. As of 2020, there were 63,706 people without a home in the city, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
According to her website, Bass plans to house 15,000 Angelenos in her first year of her four-year term.
“This is just a man-made disaster, and we need a FEMA-style response,” said Bass, revealing her plan during an event at the St. Vincent Medical Center, as reported by the LA Times. “I’m running for mayor to lead the emergency response that L.A.'s homeless catastrophe requires.”
De Leon and Caruso both have similar goals of dealing with the amount of unhoused individuals.
Caruso’s campaign video highlights the executive’s family’s immigrant background while boasting his work in providing housing to those struggling to make a living. In the video, Caruso said he will only work for a dollar a year and focus his efforts on dealing with “rampant homelessness, people living in fear for their safety and politicians at city hall just in it for themselves.”
Similarly, De Leon, a second-generation Guatemalan, has already created “thousands of units of homeless housing” according to his website, and has passed a plan to build 25,000 more. His website calls for a strong and experienced leader who can bring everyone in government together to face these issues.
Feuer also calls for a seasoned leader who has worked in a city with such issues. Buscaino believes that being in the tail end of the pandemic gives Angelenos a chance to reshape their city.
With plenty of time until the field is narrowed to the top two on June 7, any of these candidates has a chance to catch up and gain enough votes to be elected mayor.