On Sunday, Karen Bass became the first woman ever to be sworn in as Mayor of Los Angeles, marking another historic feat in her long and illustrious career. At Los Angeles City Hall, Kamala Harris, who made history by becoming the first woman and the first person of color to hold the position of vice president, presided over the administration of the oath of office.
Because there are over 40,000 people currently living on the streets, Bass spent the majority of her remarks on Sunday on her strategies for resolving the city’s housing crisis. According to Bass, “too many Angelenos are forced to cram many families into one home and to work multiple jobs just to barely pay rent.” “Today, too many Angelenos have no choice but to crowd multiple families into one home.”
“Unfortunately, our city holds the dubious distinction of being home to the most densely populated communities in the country, including Pico-Union, South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and the East Valley,” she continued. And Angelenos, we are aware of our mission: we have to construct houses in each community. She stated that her first official move as mayor will be to issue a state of emergency declaration over the issue of homelessness.
Construction has been moving at a snail’s pace even though billions of dollars from the state, city, and county are being focused on both temporary and permanent housing units. The most recent count found that the number of people living on the streets has increased by 1.7% since the last count in 2020.
With the money that is already available, according to Bass’ proposal, 15,000 people will be housed by the end of the year, and the tent cities will be dismantled. She has stated that the city will devote additional resources to “local service teams” that are trained to connect people with housing and mental health assistance. The six-term congresswoman has stated that the extra financing for Los Angeles to address the city’s housing crisis would be the consequence of her decades-long contacts with state and national lawmakers.
Additionally, Bass has guaranteed that she will utilize her connections within the Biden administration to find solutions to issues, such as the demand for an increased number of federal housing vouchers. She has stated that if elected mayor, she will also work to obtain federal waivers that would enable the construction of mental health and substance misuse institutions with a bigger number of beds.
Bass, whose residence was broken into earlier this year as she was running for office, has also promised to address worries about crime, highlighting her proposal to raise police manning back up at a time when the city is having trouble recruiting new officers. She has suggested shifting at least 250 police officers back onto patrol from administrative tasks and has stated that she would hire additional civilian staff to free up more officers so that they can get back out on the street.
Rick Caruso, a real estate billionaire, waged a furious campaign against Bass in November and spent more than $104 million trying to do so. Bass was able to prevail despite this assault. She will take over for Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose term has come to an end.
Bass made history when, some four years after being elected to the California State Assembly in 2004, she became the first Black woman to serve as speaker of any state legislature in the United States. When Bass takes office, New York City, Chicago, and Houston will all have Black mayors, joining Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot and Houston’s Sylvester Turner. When Bass takes office, the four largest cities in the United States will all have Black mayors.
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