Los Angeles voters may be deciding between a U.S. congresswoman and a real estate billionaire to be its next mayor.
June 7 is the last day for Angelenos to cast their ballots for the primary election. Any candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote will automatically win the entire election without having to proceed to the Nov. 8 runoff. If neither candidate receives more than 50 percent, the top two contenders will face off again in the general election.
According to a new Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), appears to be in the lead among white liberals and women with 38 percent of the vote conducted May 24–31. Bass has garnered support from several actors, including film directors J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, singer Ariana Grande, and actress Jennifer Garner.
Following closely behind Bass is Los Angeles real estate developer Rick Caruso, a conservative-turned-Democrat, with 32 percent of the vote, and pouring millions into his campaign. He’s received endorsements from rapper Snoop Dogg, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, singer Katy Perry, reality star Kim Kardashian, and music industry giant Clarence Avant.
Caruso developed several large strip malls in Los Angeles, including the Grove at Farmers Market in LA and the Americana at Brand in Glendale.
In total, there are 12 mayoral candidates on the ballot vying to replace soon-to-be termed-out Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was first elected in 2013.
Homelessness and public safety are the top two issues on the mind of voters in this election, as the city grapples with sprawling homeless encampments and more than 41,000 homeless people on its streets.
According to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) statistics, there were 397 murders last year, up 11.8 percent from 355 in 2020, and a 53.9 percent increase from the 258 in. The figure exceeds the record number of 395 homicides recorded in 2007.
In his campaign, Caruso promises to end street homelessness by building 30,000 shelter beds in 30 days, expand Section 8 (government-subsidized housing for low-income residents), create a department of mental health and addiction treatment, and force homeless people into treatment. Encampments would be banned, too.
Bass said she plans to tackle the homeless problem by declaring a state of emergency as well as ban encampments. She would lean on the current model under Measure HHH—a $1.2 billion bond passed in 2016 to build 10,000 permanent supportive housing units—to expand supportive housing units.
Both candidates vow to increase LAPD presence.