The race for mayor of Los Angeles hits the primaries on Tuesday, June 7, as Angelenos will begin voting for Eric Garcetti’s successor.
Garcetti has served as Los Angeles mayor for the past eight years and cannot run again due to city term limits.
While there are 11 candidates on the ballots, Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Attorney Mike Feuer have unofficially withdrawn from the race and given their support to other candidates.
Two leading candidates at the moment appear to be Rep. Karen Bass and longtime businessman Rick Caruso, it is unlikely that either candidate will garner more than 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s election, meaning there will likely be a run-off in the November General Election.
Councilman Kevin de Leon is still receiving support in his campaign and votes going toward him as a viable 3rd candidate lessen the chance of the election being decided without a run-off.
With the primary election a day away, let us take a look at the candidates for mayor of Los Angeles, listed in alphabetical order from last name:
Karen Bass (Nonpartisan)
As a California Representative, Bass has become one of the more notable names in the race for mayor, garnering public support from celebrities and more recently, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who expressed his support after suspending his own campaign for mayor.
Homelessness: Rep. Karen Bass believes she can help house 15,000 of Los Angeles’ 40,000 homeless population within her first year. She believes this is attainable through mental health programs, “ending” street encampments and providing job training.
“The fact that there are more than 40,000 people sleeping on our streets every single night is a humanitarian disaster,” Bass said. “Los Angeles needs bold, new, crisis-tested leadership to solve this crisis — that’s why I’m running for mayor.”
Public Safety: In the early 1990s, Bass coordinated a program in South L.A. known as the “Community Coalition.” The basis of her Community Coalition was to interconnect minorities in the community with law enforcement and addressing issues that have caused violence within the community.
“We’ve tried arresting our way out of the problem before – it doesn’t work,” Bass said on her campaign page. “People who are able to put food on the table, send their kids to good schools, and pay their rent are less likely to commit crimes.”
She believes that hiring civilians to do “desk work” for law enforcement will give officers more time on patrols and less time in offices.
Rick J. Caruso (Nonpartisan)
Caruso is one of the top two candidates, along with Bass, in early polls, and has gained support from celebrities himself. The USC-alum and businessman has received support from law enforcement unions, as well as Councilman Joe Buscaino, who suspended his own mayoral campaign in May.
Homelessness: Caruso blames politicians for the lack of homeless services and says he would declare a “State of Emergency” to address the issue. Caruso believes in order to tackle homelessness, the issue “deserves a true FEMA-level response that comes with federal, state, and local coordination and funds to quickly house those who are living on our streets.”
Public Safety: Caruso previously served as president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and has taken a pro-police stance in a time when “defunding police” has become a common phrase in the city.
“Don’t defund the police,” Caruso said. “Invest in making them better.”
Caruso wants to increase the LAPD force by 1,500 and said LAPD can be improved through better training, less use-of-force and police officers working together with community programs.
Kevin de León (Nonpartisan)
De Leon currently serves on the Los Angeles City Council and has received multiple endorsements from local unions such as Unite Here local 11 and the Service Employees International Union, United States Service West.
Homelessness: While de Leon has received opposition from homelessness activists while areas in his district have been cleared of encampments, de Leon has presented what he calls the “25 x 25” plan. In his plan, he wants to build 25,000 units to house homeless Angelenos by 2025. He has also expressed that he wants the housing to be permanent, saying it is “what’s needed to provide our unhoused neighbors a fair shot at the life they deserve.”
De Leon has also focused his campaign in homeless prevention through strategies such as requiring developers to include affordable housing units within any new development projects.
Public Safety: “The Mayor’s most important job is to keep Angelenos safe and to ensure that they’re treated with dignity and respect.”
De Leon believes mental health professionals should work hand-in-hand with law enforcement so officers are not tasked with social work they may or may not be able to handle.
He also believes recent retail crime sprees are better handled by working with the California Attorney General to target the top of these rings and not just on-the-ground.
Craig E. Greiwe (Nonpartisan)
Greiwe is marketing strategy specialist who is aspiring to be the first openly gay mayor of Los Angeles.
“There’s a very simple choice as you vote today…,” Greiwe said on Twitter. “Do you vote for your values and real, concrete plans, or do you vote for the same people who have sat in power for 20 years. There’s no way around it. I’m proud of the vetted, published plans I have for every crisis.”
Homelessness: Greiwe believes he can end the homeless crisis within four years by reaching out to every individual experiencing homelessness and preventing Angelenos from falling into homelessness. By ending homelessness, Greiwe believes it will directly affect the reduction of crime in the city.
Alex Gruenenfelder (Nonpartisan)
Gruenenfelder is a local activist who serves as the neighborhood-based Echo Park council and has worked to create resources for survivors of sexual abuse.
Homelessness: Gruenenfelder says they want to end homelessness by creating housing in unused city parking lots and creating drug rehabilitation programs, mental healthcare services, and resources for unhoused youth.
Jackson is running on a platform focused on homelessness. He believes the current funding for homelessness programs have been misused and as mayor he plans to find where the funding has gone and address it.
Kim is an attorney in Los Angeles who says he wants to “change the culture of City Hall.”
“A wise person said the best cure for homelessness and crime is a job,” Kim said on his campaign page. As mayor, Kim would declare a State of Emergency for homelessness and appoint a “czar” to install 30,000 shelter beds within his first year.
Viola is an advocate for the People’s Budget, a BLM-based initiative whose goal is to push the city to, “defund the police and reimagine public safety.”
In recent polls, Viola finished top-5, has shared views similar to Los Angeles social justice activists and even received an endorsement from BLM-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah.
Viola has advocated for a $39 minimum wage as she believes the wage lines up with Los Angeles’ cost of living.
Mel Wilson (Nonpartisan)
Wilson is a local businessman who has served on local and national realtor associations. Wilson prides himself on not being a traditional politician and says he wants to unite the city.
“I’d be honored to serve as mayor to provide opportunities and revitalize a better LA for ALL Angelenos, especially to support our future generation of leaders…”
Wilson believes housing issues can be solved with “innovative construction techniques” and waiving building fees.
Joe Buscaino (Nonpartisan) (Unofficially withdrew)
Buscaino has suspended his campaign and endorsed candidate Rick Caruso.
Mike Feuer (Nonpartisan) (Unofficially withdrew)
Feuer Has suspended his campaign and endorsed candidate Karen Bass.
Ramit Varma (Nonpartisan) (Unofficially withdrew)
Varma has suspended his campaign and endorsed candidate Rick Caruso.
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