Karen Bass represents the 37th Congressional District (Mid City, Westwood, Exposition Park, Baldwin Hills). She was elected Speaker of the California Assembly in 2008, making her the first Black woman in U.S. history to lead a state legislative body. She founded the Community Coalition and the National Foster Youth Institute.
LAist sent out 19 questions to both candidates running for mayor in the Nov. 8 general election runoff. You can review Bass’s positions below. And you can read her full, unedited responses to the primary questionnaire here.
Climate change is contributing to longer and more severe droughts in California. What do you think is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to protect Angelenos' water supply?
Expand rebate programs, e.g. to replace lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping and to purchase water-efficient appliances for homes and businesses
Make outdoor watering rules even more strict and increase enforcement of rules at both homes and businesses
Ban non-drought-tolerant grass in new developments and commercial and industrial settings
Speed up water recycling and stormwater capture efforts
What is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to keep Angelenos safe amid extreme heat?
Provide more direct support to Angelenos during extreme heat waves: e.g. open more cooling stations, provide more subsidized air conditioning and assistance on utility bills, etc.
Improve cooling infrastructure in neighborhoods with less tree cover: e.g. plant trees, build shade structures, expand green space, etc.
Mandate indoor cooling standards for homes and workplaces so developers and landlords are required to incorporate heat resilience
Increase public messaging around the dangers of extreme heat and how to keep yourself and loved ones safe
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles. Where do you see the biggest opportunity to lower those emissions?
Expand public transit and bike and pedestrian-friendly areas
Expand rebate programs and provide other incentives to get more people into electric or hybrid vehicles or using public transportation
Expand the city’s electric vehicle charging network
Double down on investments in hydrogen fuel technology
Implement gas engine vehicle restrictions
Fires in the city and its surroundings are growing more frequent and more severe as a result of the climate crisis. What is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to tackle this problem?
Increase resources for fighting fires
Work with developers to harden structures: Require building standards that are stricter than the state’s
Work with property owners to harden structures and ensure defensible space around each through incentives or fines
Prohibit or restrict new developments in fire-prone areas
Los Angeles Municipal Code 41.18, better known as the “anti-camping law,” bans people who are unhoused from camping on public property close to locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and underpasses. Should 41.18 be kept as is, repealed, or changed?
Keep as is
Keep it, but expand support for those experiencing homelessness
Change the law or change how it’s implemented
I support the intent of 41.18 – it is unacceptable for encampments to exist near schools and child care centers. I have a problem with 41.18’s district by district, encampment by encampment approach. We need coordinated, citywide leadership to solve this problem, and we need to ensure that housing and services are available for homeless individuals because what I will never accept is simply moving an encampment from one neighborhood to another. That’s not a solution – that’s whack a mole.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “We need to stop allowing homeless encampments and shelters near residences.”
Do you agree with Angelenos who say that the large number of people living outside makes neighborhoods less safe?
Yes, the homelessness crisis makes everyone less safe
What is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to address the homelessness crisis in the near-term?
Build more permanent affordable housing
Build more temporary shelters
Expand mental health facilities and access
Create more jobs
Lower the cap on rent increases in the city’s rent-controlled housing
All or some combination of the above
I will immediately address the homelessness crisis by building more interim and permanent housing, rebuilding the mental health and substance abuse systems, and providing unhoused Angelenos with job training and employment assistance.
Traffic violence is considered a public health crisis by many state and local officials. City programs and plans aimed at making streets safer, including Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035, have not been effective, especially for low-income Angelenos and in Black and Brown communities. What is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists?
Increase equitable investment in traffic calming infrastructure (i.e. left-turn arrows, high visibility crosswalks, curb extensions, traffic circles, etc.)
Advocate for speed cameras (would require state legislation)
Direct police to write more traffic tickets
Expand work on reducing speed limits
Create more car-free zones throughout the city
Due to the city's emergency decree, rent increases are currently not allowed for tenants living in the city’s rent-controlled housing. But before the pandemic, Los Angeles generally allowed annual rent increases between 3% and 8%, depending on inflation. Should the city alter its rent control limits, eliminate them, or keep them?
Keep them as is
We must protect our rent-controlled housing stock, and expand just cause eviction protections to non-rent controlled multifamily properties.
Landlords say they’ve been struggling amid rising costs, inflation over 7%, and pandemic-era restrictions such as temporary bans on rent increases and evictions. Should we lift the city’s eviction protections now, let them expire in January, or extend them past January?
Lift them now
Let them expire
I am concerned that if the eviction moratorium is lifted too soon, it will cause more Angelenos to fall into homelessness. At the same time, I believe that we must protect our mom and pop landlords, many of whom face unique challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. The city should help ensure these apartment owners receive the financial support they need to stay afloat and continue to house Angelenos.
What statement best reflects your position on the minimum wage of $16.04 that went into effect on July 1, 2022?
It’s too low
At that level, it places too much of a burden on small businesses
I don’t support a minimum wage
Do you agree with Mayor Garcetti’s decision to pilot a universal basic income program in Los Angeles?
The Los Angeles Police Department currently has fewer than 9,400 sworn officers but is authorized to have about 9,700. As mayor, what would you do?
Increase sworn officers to the authorized limit
Push to authorize even more officers
Reduce, or keep it at the current level
The current LAPD operating budget of $1.9 billion represents about 16% of the overall city budget. Should LAPD funding stay the same, increase or decrease?
Stay the same
What do you think is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to ensure that officers responding to a 911 call can recognize a mental health crisis and avoid using lethal force?
Expand the number of available Mental Evaluation Units (there are currently only 10-12), which pair a mental health clinician with an armed officer
Increase mental health crisis response training for officers
Improve training for dispatchers so they can funnel calls to 988, the new mental health crisis line
I will immediately increase co-response and alternative response teams that include mental health, homeless outreach and other specialists who can respond to people in distress, freeing officers to focus on crime.
Would you be willing to meet with groups that have been sharply critical of the police, such as Black Lives Matter and Reform L.A. Jails?
District Attorney George Gascón came to office on a progressive agenda that includes fewer prosecutions for low-level crimes. What statement best reflects your opinion of his agenda?
Broadly aligns with my beliefs
I disagree with some of his agenda
I disagree with most of his agenda
I disagree with most of his agenda and think he should have been recalled from office
What do you think is the most important and impactful step the city can take as part of a strategy to repair the frayed relationships between the LAPD and many of the communities it serves?
Increase funding for community-based policing
Increase officer training in de-escalation techniques
Replace the current police chief
Accountability starts at the top. I will be a hands-on Mayor who looks for leaders who embrace accountability, are committed to preventing and reducing crime, and increasing mutual trust between officers and communities. I will lay out clear goals and expectations for the Police Chief and Police Commission – and I will expect them to meet those goals. As Mayor, I will invest in Senior Lead Officers and proven programs like the Community Safety Partnership to build trust between officers and the communities they serve – and I will double down on investments in crime prevention programs that address the root causes of crime.
Credits & Support
- Julia Barajas
- Caitlin Biljan
- Austin Cross
- Jackie Fortiér
- Robert Garrova
- Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
- Caitlin Hernández
- Brianna Lee
- Maloy Moore
- Gillian Morán Pérez
- Adriana Pera
- Kyle Stokes
- Frank Stoltze
- Erin Stone
- David Wagner
- Ethan Ward
- Ross Brenneman
- Brian Frank
- Oscar Garza
- Karina Gacad
- Megan Garvey
- Paul Glickman
- Suzanne Levy
- Tony Marcano
- Rebecca Nieto
- Mary Plummer
- Ariel Zirulnick
Web Development and Design
- Melissa DeMund
- Diana Chu
- Peter Hernández
- Dan Carino
- Ruolin Tu
- Arantza Peña Popo
- Will Welch (The City: NYC)
- Tony Federico
- James Evers
- Louis Felix
- Ryanne Mena
- Caitlin Biljan
- Jon Cohn
- Tony Federico
- Alexis Gero
- Thuy Mao
- Kristen Payne
- Donald Paz
- Bianca Ramirez
- Kristen Ranger
- Rebecca Stumme
- Sophie Chap
- Leo Gomez
- Andy Orozco
This coverage was made possible through support by the Committee for Greater LA in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Weingart Foundation.
Special thanks to The City, which originally conceived and developed this project for voters in New York.