Mayor-elect Bass to declare state of emergency over homeless crisis on Day 1

U.S.  Rep. Karen bass, who will be sworn in as LA's first female mayor December 12 also sites principles by which she will govern.

By Linh Tat  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published in Los Angeles Daily News Nov. 17 2022

karen jpeg2 copyRep. Karen Bass, who will be sworn in as the first female mayor of Los Angeles on Dec. 12, vowed to declare a state of emergency her first day on the job to address the out-of-control homeless crisis, and pledged to “hit the ground running” in leading the nation’s second-most populous city.

In her first public appearance as mayor-elect, Bass on Thursday, Nov. 17, pledged to be a mayor for all Angelenos, regardless of whether they voted for her; expressed “great respect” for her opponent in the mayoral race, developer Rick Caruso; and outlined some guiding principles by which she plans to govern.

“No matter who you voted for, no matter who you are or where you live, I will be a mayor for you,” Bass said during the news conference, as dozens of her supporters cheered behind her.

The mayor-elect pledged to lead with urgency to solve the city’s homelessness crisis, combat rising crime rates and make L.A. affordable for working families by bringing in good-paying jobs and affordable housing.

“If you tell me that this is the way it’s always been done and that means that we’re supposed to continue to do it this way, and we know it’s not working, then that’s just not going to happen,” Bass said. “That will not be acceptable because I will only accept solutions. That’s what my administration will deliver for L.A.”

Asked about being elected the first female mayor of L.A., Bass said along with that distinction comes added responsibilities.

“The magnitude of the job is sinking in, and the historical significance,” said Bass, who also made history when she became the first Black woman in U.S. history to serve as speaker of a state legislature during her time in the California state Assembly.

“You always have to make sure that you maintain excellence in every step of the way,” she said. “But when you’re thinking about that, you have to think that the path that you go is laying the foundation for those who come behind you.”

Bass made her remarks in front of the entrance to the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. The Ebell of Los Angeles is a women-led and women-centered nonprofit whose founders in the late 1800s consisted of women who weren’t allowed to vote and often were denied opportunities to get an education or pursue careers, according to Stacy Brightman, executive director of The Ebell of Los Angeles.

Acknowledging her opponent in the race, Caruso, Bass said she respected anyone willing to put their all on the line to serve the public.

Although the two attacked each other on the campaign trail, both have also shown civility toward their opponent. In an interview in October, Caruso said the two had known each other for two decades and described their relationship before becoming political rivals as respectful.

“We didn’t get together socially. It’s like a business acquaintance,” Caruso had said.

Bass, in a separate interview last month, also described their relationship in terms of mutual respect. “It’s not like we were personal friends. I respected him,” she said.

On Thursday, she did not close the door on the idea of working with Caruso moving forward. She likened campaigning to an athletic competition, saying, “You fight with everything that you have, but when the game is over, it’s over.”

“(Caruso) cares about Los Angeles. I care about Los Angeles,” she said. “I always keep my eyes on the prize – that is what is most important to me. I believe it’s the same with him, and I would welcome a relationship to work with him in the future.”

This year’s mayoral race was a competitive and expensive one that was closely watched around the nation.

The Associated Press called the race for Bass on Wednesday, after the latest vote tallies from the L.A. County registrar’s office showed Bass leading by more than 46,500 votes, or 6 percentage points. With more than 70% of the votes tallied, the AP said Bass’ lead was too large for Caruso to overcome, and Caruso conceded not long after.

Bass’ lead only grew on Thursday. According to the latest vote count by the registrar’s office, Bass had captured 436,807 votes (53.69%) while Caruso had received 376,769 votes (46.31%) – a difference of 60,038 votes, or 7.4 percentage points.

Outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti called Bass’ victory “historic” and “a win for all Angelenos.”

“What Karen brings to this moment is unparalleled energy and experience, both legislative and lived, from which she will drive the city’s next chapter,” Garcetti, who called Bass a personal friend, said in a statement Wednesday.

“I have given Karen my commitment of unconditional support through this transition period, and have already been preparing with my team to make this the smoothest transition of administrations in our city’s history – so that our transfer of power can stand as a testament to the values and unity of purpose that have always made me proud to lead this City of Angels,” he said.

Bass on Thursday said she would have more to announce in the coming days about her transition team. She will be sworn in and begin her role as mayor a little over three weeks from now.


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