Karen Bass is first woman elected Los Angeles mayor

The Washington Post – By Reis Thebault – November 16, 2022

LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Karen Bass was elected the next mayor of Los Angeles on Wednesday, taking the reins in the nation’s second-largest city during an intense period of soul-searching as it reels from a racism scandal and seeks fresh answers to seemingly intractable problems like homelessness and corruption.

The Democratic congresswoman prevailed over billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso to become the first woman elected to lead the city and just its second Black mayor. The race was Los Angeles’s most expensive contest ever and remained close until the final days of a week-long count, when Bass pulled decisively ahead and never lost her advantage. As of Wednesday evening, Bass held an insurmountable lead of just over six percentage points, and the Associated Press projected her the winner.

Nonetheless, Bass faced a formidable challenge from Caruso, who sank $100 million of his own money into the race and looked to seize on Angelenos’ growing frustration with an uptick in violent crime.

Until recently, Caruso was a registered Republican and his election would have represented a rightward lurch for the city. He promised to swell the city’s police force to record levels and build temporary housing to shelter 30,000 homeless people in his first 300 days in office. Bass has called Caruso’s proposal unrealistic and pledged to house about 17,000 people in her first year.

While some of his new party’s biggest names spurned him, Caruso received several splashy celebrity endorsements in a city of stars, including from Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry.

Perry, who was born in Santa Barbara, shared a selfie of her electronic ballot cast for Caruso, saying she’s voting for him “for a myriad of reasons (see the news) but in particular because Los Angeles is a hot mess atm.”

On that score, at least, both candidates agreed.

The city’s politics have been beset by scandal for years, but the latest made international headlines and shook the foundation of Los Angeles’s self-ascribed identity as a harmonious, multiethnic metropolis. Last month, a leaked recording emerged capturing four of the city’s most powerful Latino leaders disparaging colleagues and flinging racist remarks about a Black child, indigenous immigrants and Jewish residents.

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Posted by Teri Perticone

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