Mall developer Rick Caruso has a good chance of becoming the next mayor of Los Angeles

Shopping center developer Rick Caruso has just taken a step closer to becoming the next mayor of Los Angeles.

In a close race against Rep. Karen Bass, the real estate billionaire garnered 42% of the partially counted votes in Tuesday’s primary election after spending some $37.5 million of his own money to win the coveted political post. .

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Bass was slightly behind with 37% of the vote while city councilor Kevin de Leon, third, got 7% ​​and activist Gina Viola 5%.

Caruso, whose Los Angeles-luxury malls in the area include The Grove with its water fountains dancing to Frank Sinatra songs and a streetcar rolling down a brick road, and the branded Americanawith similar characteristics, is making every effort to take over from Eric Garcetti, who is laid off.

The 63-year-old property tycoon has promised that if he wins he will stake his property empire, which includes the upscale beachfront Hotel Palissandre Miramar in Montecito, California in a blind trust.

“This is a significant moment in the history of our city,” Caruso said, at a large outdoor victory party held Tuesday night at The Grove. “The Angelenos feel ignored. They feel excluded. They feel worried and desperate… I am convinced that we can change and change will happen.

Bass hosted her victory party at the W Hotel in Hollywood and was charged in her speech that embraced the many activists who have worked to make her the next mayor. “We see voters making a clear choice. They want battle-tested, mission-driven leadership that will always fight for Los Angeles values,” she said. “The city will see that it is difficult to defeat a campaign led by the people. Passionate knockers are hard to beat no matter how much money is spent. And it’s hard to defeat people who are committed to a cause, not just a candidate.

The two candidates come from very different economic backgrounds.

Caruso grew up in the affluent town of Beverly Hills and his father, Henry, founded Dollar Rent a Car in 1966. Caruso went to one of the city’s most expensive private high schools, now called Harvard-Westlake School, graduating from the University of Southern California. and earned her law degree from Pepperdine University.

He never ran for political office during his long career as a property developer. But he was appointed to two city commissions.

At the age of 26, he was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley as Commissioner of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Later, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and was eventually elected president. He helped select former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton as the new Los Angeles Police Chief in 2002.

Caruso’s wealth, estimated by Forbes at $4.3 billion, helped him spend nearly ten times Bass. His TV, radio, online and newspaper ads were everywhere.

Karen Bass (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) - Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Karen Bass (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) – Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Bass, whose father was a postman, graduated from California State University – Dominguez Hills. She began her career as an emergency room physician assistant and later moved into community activism in South Los Angeles, where the population is 60% Latino and 35% African American.

Tired of watching the crack epidemic spread through South Los Angeles, 68-year-old Bass started the Community Coalition in 1990 to fight drugs, poverty, dismal health care and too many drug stores. alcohol in the neighborhood.

Her community activism led political leaders in 2003 to push her to run for state assembly, representing a large district that included South Los Angeles. Later, she became the first black woman to serve as Speaker of the Assembly.

After six years in the Assembly, she ran for Congress in 2011 and has since represented the area south and west of downtown Los Angeles.

Bass has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, John Legend, Steven Spielberg, Magic Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Caruso has been endorsed by A-list stars including celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, rap musician Snoop Dogg, actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk.

The candidates will meet again in the November 8 election. The main issues in the mayoral race have been homelessness and crime. The city of Los Angeles now has 42,000 homeless people camping in the streets, under bridges and on sidewalks.

Caruso has made it clear that caring for homeless people is his top priority and wants to declare a state of emergency to deal with it. He promises to build enough shelters to house 30,000 homeless people in 300 days. He promised to add 1,500 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department.

In an interview with WWD at his Grove Mall in 2020, following the Black Lives Matter protests, and before announcing he would run, Caruso hinted at his priorities: “The LAPD is a very good department, and we need to quickly uproot where there are bad cops. But we have to help the communities that are suffering the most, the disadvantaged communities. We need to invest in them and give them opportunities; they need better education and better health care. I have dedicated my time and resources to education in black and Latino communities. We need to do more than that. There shouldn’t be that much of a difference between being here and being 20 minutes away, it’s just not right. We just have to recognize that and find ways to get everyone working together.

Bass is also deeply concerned about homelessness and promises to form a coalition to tackle the problem and house 15,000 homeless people by the end of her first year in office.

She wants to recruit at least 300 more people to bring the police to her 9,700 authorized officers. She thinks civilians should be in more jobs, there should be more community development to reduce crime, officers should be better trained, and guns should be taken out of the hands of those who don’t. shouldn’t have any.

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Edwin S. Wolfe