BBorn and raised in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles, Rep. Karen Bass joins the L.A. mayoral race with more than a decade of experience in federal and state office and a love for the city. and its inhabitants.
Bass became interested in community activism by watching the civil rights movement on television with her father. Their strength encouraged her to dedicate her life to continuing their work.
“It was a time of great activism around the world and also in the United States, so I grew up with an international outlook that made me very interested in the world,” Bass explained.
Bass defines herself as a Democrat and activist who founded the Community Coalition, a nationally recognized social justice organization in South Los Angeles that empowers African American and Latino communities across generations to struggle. against drug addiction, poverty and crime.
She also represented the City of Los Angeles in Sacramento and Washington, DC for over 14 years, where she was a speaker during one of the worst economic crises in California history.
“I would come into this position with deep ties at the federal level, state level, county level and city level, and you need all of the above to help the city,” said Bass. “The city’s most pressing issues have been at the forefront of the issues I have worked on for several decades and I have made significant progress in the various areas I have worked on.”
While in the California State Assembly, the state’s accelerated economic stimulus legislation that has helped Californians affected by the national economic crisis, launched billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, has passed legislation to make health care more accessible and affordable for Californians, and pushed efforts to improve California’s child welfare system, a mission Bass continued to pursue as a member of the House representatives of the United States.
As a member of Congress, Bass describes not only her proudest accomplishments as the work she has done for child protection, but also for local hiring in Los Angeles, the COVID-19 response and the strengthening the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade agreement between the United States and Africa.
As mayor, Bass will seek to have a lasting impact on what she sees as the most pressing issues facing Angelenos, namely homelessness and public safety, which she says cannot be considered two. separate issues.
“The crisis, which I would call an emergency with the 40,000 homeless Angelenos, has been a problem for a long time, and I have worked directly and indirectly on these issues for three decades, but in the last year to two years the problem really exploded into what I believe to be a public health and public safety emergency,” Bass said.
She said she believes that to have a meaningful impact on the crisis, the City of Los Angeles should not only focus on housing people who are homeless, but also explain why they are homeless to begin with, especially in this that relates to health-related reasons such as chronic disease, addiction or mental health.
“I want to bring the city together to deal with the crisis and so that the homeless are not seen as a monolith, because people are on these streets for various reasons, and there must be specific strategies for the different categories. of people who are homeless,” Bass explained.
“I think all the candidates feel that the next mayor should declare a state of emergency, and I would agree with that too, but I think we need to do more.”
Bass insists it’s taking too long to build affordable, temporary or permanent supportive housing and will continue to help encourage the federal government to waive HUD or Veterans Administration regulations while he’s there. in Congress.
Along with homelessness, Bass will seek to tackle crime and public safety as mayor by finding ways to get the police to the streets faster and analyzing the ways police reach out to different communities.
“Different neighborhoods have made it clear that they want to see an increased police presence because they don’t feel safe,” Bass said. “Not every neighborhood wants this, but for neighborhoods that want it, I want the police on the streets as quickly as possible. And I think the best way to do that is to hire civilians and hire new officers at the same time.
After leading an effort on police reform in Congress, Bass saw two different styles of policing emerge in Los Angeles that she calls the “guardian” and “warrior” styles.
“With a gatekeeper type font, I think what that means is pretty obvious,” Bass explained. “But when it comes to South, Central and East Los Angeles in certain neighborhoods, police act more like warriors and in some cases treat entire neighborhoods as if they were suspects. “
After Los Angeles saw a nearly 4% increase in violent crime in 2021 over 2020, with the city seeing its highest number of homicides in nearly 15 years, Bass is calling for a behavioral change in how police react to communities with different crime rates and hopes. that this change could put the city on a brighter path where there is less animosity between officers and neighborhoods with criminal histories.
In light of the pandemic, Bass has taken a two-pronged approach to its COVID-19 response depending on the state of the virus’ spread by the end of the election.
“If this is behind us, I would like to have a strategic plan and a strategy for how we would respond to the next pandemic very early in my administration, and that would involve stockpiling PPE, having awareness strategies for communities that are going to be disproportionately impacted and the creation of a contingency fund to help with health and economic impacts,” Bass said. “It would also involve solidifying a strategy with the county, state and federal government.”
If COVID-19 still impacts Los Angeles by the end of the election, Bass plans to use access to as many state and federal resources as possible as well as create a targeted strategy for vaccines and testing in communities where access to testing and vaccine rates are low.
“In both scenarios, whether COVID has passed us or we’re still in COVID, I would be led by science,” Bass said. “And I have a medical background, so I follow science naturally.”
In addition to monitoring the city’s physical health, Bass wants to help small businesses that have been financially devastated over the past two years by fighting for federal support and tying financial aid to online resources like workshops. technical assistance.
“People are telling me they didn’t get the resources that were there, and I think what’s going to happen in Congress before the end of the year is we’re going to pass another aid package. “, Bass said. “I would be very proactive in seeking out that money and in connecting with companies that have been negative. Sometimes it’s not enough to just give someone a website and say, “Good luck.” »
From homelessness and public safety to the COVID-19 response and economic recovery, Bass seeks to address a plethora of pressing issues affecting communities in Los Angeles today, but insists that many of these problems stem from a root cause: income inequality.
By closing the gap between rich and poor in Los Angeles by creating better-paying jobs and more efficient public transportation, Bass hopes to tackle the main manifestation of the city’s many burdens during his time as mayor.
“I’m a lifelong Angelena, and I’ve also spent much of my adult life building coalitions and collaborations across geography, ideology, race, class, and gender,” said said Bass. “In everything I do as mayor, this will be at the forefront of my thinking.”
The 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election will take place on November 8, while the first two primaries will take place on June 7.
To learn more about mayoral candidate Karen Bass and her campaign, visit karenbass.com
Karen Bass for Mayor