Meet Your Mayor

A political matchmaking quiz for voters

You’ve got a choice to make, L.A.: Who’s going to be your next mayor?

You’ve probably been flooded with advertisements and news coverage about the candidates vying to replace L.A.’s outgoing mayor, Eric Garcetti. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any easier to make your choice.

That’s why we’re bringing you Meet Your Mayor, our quiz that asks you and the candidates the same questions so that we can "match" you with the candidate who's closest to you on key issues. It’s kind of like one of those matchmaking apps where you answer a bunch of questions and then you get matched with someone who shares your interests and values.

We’ll be candid — we sent out more than 30 questions to the candidates and categorizing their responses was a challenge. In some areas, there’s a lot of agreement. So we focused on where there are real policy distinctions, ultimately using 12 questions to give you a sense of where the candidates align with your own views. The answers to everything we asked are also available for you to review.

Who votes for L.A. mayor?

You must live in the city of Los Angeles to vote in this race. Not sure? Use our Voter's Edge tool to see all the races on your ballot based on your home address.

OK, but what does the mayor even do?

Think of L.A.’s mayor as a CEO: they can appoint commissioners and boot city officials.

They also handle the money; mayors must propose a budget and report on how that money is spent to the City Council every year. (The 15-member City Council is basically Los Angeles’ legislature.)

And as the head of the second-largest city in the country, L.A.’s mayor has the ability to lead on social issues at the heart of national conversations. Their power over the budget allows them to carve out funding to pilot new programs that push ideas into the realm of political possibility.

In short, choosing a mayor is kind of a big deal. You can learn more about the position of L.A. mayor in our voter guide.

Last updated

How it works

  • We asked you what questions you wanted to ask the candidates before you voted in this primary election. You sent us almost 200.
  • As you take the quiz, you’ll be shown which candidates gave the same answer as you to each question. And at the end of the quiz, you’ll find out which candidate or candidates you agree with the most often.
  • You’ll see 12 names on your ballot when you vote for mayor in this primary election. So why are you only seeing answers from seven candidates in our quiz? Well, two candidates, Joe Buscaino and Mike Feuer, dropped out of the race before we published this quiz. Two others — John “Jsamuel” Jackson and Andrew Kim — have no campaign website and have filed no campaign finance information. Another, Ramit Varma, did not respond to our requests.
  • Reminder: The two candidates who receive the most votes on June 7 will continue on to the November general election for a runoff. If one candidate receives 50%+1 of the vote, they will win the election outright and there will be no runoff.
  • Now, go find your mayoral match.
View topic guide

L.A.’s “anti-camping law” (Municipal Code 41.18) bans people who are unhoused from camping on public property close to locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and underpasses. Should it be kept as is, repealed, or changed?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    I supported the intent of the anti-camping ordinance passed by the City Council and believe it is unacceptable for homeless encampments to exist near schools and child care centers. What I have a problem with is its 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 – it’s just passing the buck.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    I will build 30,000 shelter beds in 300 days with supported services to get people off our streets and provide them with the help they need to get back on their feet. I will also enforce 41.18 to keep people from turning our parks, sidewalks, and bus shelters into encampments.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    It is not progressive, nor humane, to leave Angelenos to live and die on the streets of our city. That’s why I’ve moved quickly to create enough shelter to house 80% of the homeless in Northeast Los Angeles. The 41.18 Municipal Code only works as-is if there are adequate housing opportunities available, which is why I’ve introduced my 25x25 plan – unanimously supported by the L.A. City Council – to build 25,000 units of housing in the next 3 years.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    41.18 is a poorly-written partial band-aid with no real solution. We cannot have encampments, but we must have places for people to go. We must regulate and enforce public space, but we must have places for people to go and services they are required to receive.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    The anti-camping law … should be replaced by one that guarantees people in encampments are given access to shelter or housing.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    It should be repealed. It is a human rights violation.

I believe the primary cause of most homelessness in Los Angeles is…

Candidates who agree with you

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    The history of 20th century U.S. housing policy is wealth building for white people and wealth extraction for Black people in particular and people of color in general. Until we reckon with this fact, we will never eradicate houselessness.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    Economic hardship is the #1 cause cited for the newly homeless, and the housing affordability crisis in L.A. and across the state continues to worsen.

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    This is a complex, multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-pronged, whole of government solution... Nearly 60% of individuals who enter homelessness for the first time cite economic hardship as the primary factor for losing their home. Nearly 50% of unsheltered individuals are either suffering from severe mental illness or substance abuse. 60% of the homeless population are formerly incarcerated individuals who confront barriers to housing and employment because of their backgrounds... Our communities of color are also disproportionately homeless... [And] 1 in 4 homeless youth in LA are former foster youth and 1 in 5 homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    The factors that led Angelenos to experience homelessness are as varied as the people themselves, though there are some leading causes. 1) A severe lack of housing stock, specifically affordable housing. 2) A crumbling social safety net, with housing voucher values in the basement and no real mental health or substance abuse services. 3) A city that works for the very wealthy, while leaving the poor to fend for themselves, often unable to pay rent as costs rise. Still others find themselves financially destitute and on the streets due to medical bills or personal trauma.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    L.A. is no different from hundreds of American cities. There are lots of contributing factors from mental health to addiction to rising costs of housing, but the #1 immediate source is "one bad day," one mistake that tips someone into homelessness.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    A triage of problems: housing costs, addiction, and mental illness.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    Undiagnosed, untreated mental illness, drug addiction, people who cannot survive the high cost of living in L.A., youth who were emancipated out of the foster care program.

Do you agree with Angelenos who say that the large number of people living outside makes the streets less safe?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    Homelessness is unquestionably a threat to public safety – it’s unsafe for the housed and the unhoused. The fact of the matter is this: if the tens of thousands of people living in tent encampments lived in houses or apartments instead, all of Los Angeles would feel safer.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, a public health crisis, and a public safety crisis all-in-one. Leaving tens of thousands of people to live outdoors on our streets and sidewalks is exceptionally dangerous – especially for our unhoused neighbors. In particular women, protected by nothing but a flimsy tent-zipper, are exposed to all manner of violence and sexual assault. Alternatively, we’ve seen janitors and other workers at Union Station attacked by unhoused individuals living with severe mental illnesses.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    Yes. It's unsafe on every level. It's unsanitary, it provides hiding places for criminals, it fosters drug use, and it incentivizes bad behavior for communities.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    The homelessness crisis makes everyone less safe, including those on the streets. It is impossible to address public safety without addressing homelessness.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    Untreated mental health individuals who are a safety risk to themselves and to the public. Open drug sales and use is contributing to criminal behavior. Drug users are committing crimes on the public and committing crimes on each other. Mentally ill people are a danger to themselves and to the public. Biohazard conditions (used hypodermic needles, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl use is a public safety hazard). People living on the streets without proper sanitary receptacles to defecate and urinate on the streets are a health hazard. People living on the streets creates an environment for diseases to grow and spread.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    It is the most unsafe for the people who have been forced to live on the streets.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    I think a significant percentage of our homeless crisis is driven by those who are mentally ill and suffer from substance abuse. Whether they directly make our city less safe is debatable, but they do make people feel less safe outside, at our parks, or walking down the street. We need to get people housed, we need to get them services, and for those who can not make rational decisions for themselves due to mental illness we need a Cares Court now.

No candidates selected this answer

Who should build housing for the unhoused community: the city or private developers?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    The city! The public/private partnership has resulted in our tax dollars being transferred to the private sector.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    The private sector should build the housing, take the risk for development cost of material and labor. The public sector can agree to a delivery cost and the public sector either buys or leases housing units from the private sector. This will shift the construction risks from the public to the private sector. The private sector can assess the cost, risk and time for delivery and require a reasonable return on their investments for building the housing units.

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    Both, because this problem requires an all-of-the-above approach, and that starts with ensuring the city makes it easier for developers to build… I will consolidate all planning, and building and safety functions in a single unit with only one job: fast-track all affordable housing through the development process.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    Both. We are in a crisis, let's bring every resource to the table and get our unhoused off our streets and back on their feet.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    The City should be working with all builders to reach our goal of providing enough temporary and permanent housing opportunities to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors. This crisis demands an all-hands-on-deck approach; and with more people falling into homelessness every single day, we need to bring public and private partners together on projects that will bring us closer to our housing goals.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    We can only build the massive amount of housing our city needs if both the city and private developers work to get the job done.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    Housing for the homeless should be a temporary stabilization method. We need to stop thinking we have to house the homeless forever. Some will need permanent support, but most do not. We just need to get most people back on their feet.

I believe the biggest barrier to building more affordable housing is…

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    As Mayor, I will cut through red tape, expedite approvals, waive development fees and work with the community to build more permanent and affordable housing.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    [B]uilding in Los Angeles isn’t just expensive, it’s designed to incentivize building high-cost luxury housing over affordable housing. Los Angeles has one of the longest … processes in the country, with most projects taking upwards of 24 months. This timeline creates massive holding costs for builders and, when combined with fees, labor laws, and environmental review challenges, typical projects get delayed for years.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    Our arcane regulations, insane bureaucracy, and city leaders make it impossible to build any housing, including affordable housing.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    The high building and permit fees the city of L.A. charges builders.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    A lack of leadership with the courage and vision to mandate the inclusion of affordable units in new developments. Additionally, restrictive downzoning under prior city governments has reduced the available space to build affordable housing. As Mayor, I'll reverse both of these trends.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    The amount of private partners who've become overly involved in the process. I've spoken to developers of low income housing who've told me the difficulty that is had securing the funding from the various income streams that are beholden to private equity firms.

View topic guide

Should the Los Angeles Police Department remain at its current size of 9,500 sworn officers, should it be downsized, or should it increase?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    The LAPD is down hundreds of officers from its authorized force of 9,700. As Mayor, I will return the LAPD to its full authorized force, and provide funding to the Personnel Department to aggressively recruit new officers who are invested in reform and accountability.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    We can make sure our streets, sidewalks, and homes are secure by reaching the LAPD’s currently budgeted size of 9,706 officers. Los Angeles does not need to increase the size of its police force by tens of thousands of officers, as other candidates have proposed, costing taxpayers billions of dollars at a time families are already struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    I believe that budgeting and adding new officers is a false choice... We need to start by focusing officers on police work, instead of asking them to show up to everything, and remove them from the homelessness response. Only then can we see how many officers we need.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    I will add 1,500 officers to our force before the end of my first term. My administration will apply for every federal and state grant there is and even demand more direct funding from the Biden administration and Governor Newsom to expand and strengthen our police force and ensure they are trained properly and engaged with the communities they serve.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    I will budget for hiring up to 11,000 public safety officers. That public safety core includes hiring 350 mental health experts, hiring community public safety ambassadors (youths and seniors).

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    It should be downsized. Have you seen the response to a person having a mental health crisis? I've routinely witnessed as many as 10 vehicles with 20 officers and even a helicopter respond.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    I am satisfied with the current amount of LAPD officers, but we must demilitarize the police department and invest in other forms of crisis response.

The current LAPD budget of $1.76 billion represents almost 16% of the overall city budget. Should LAPD funding stay the same, increase or decrease?

Editor’s note: The total cost associated with the LAPD, according to the most recent city budget, is nearly $3.1 billion, which includes $644 million for pensions, $346 million for benefits, and other expenses. The $1.76 billion represents the operational costs that a mayor has the most discretion to adjust.

Candidates who agree with you

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    I will restore the LAPD’s budget and expand the number of patrol officers with more hiring, civilianization of non-essential sworn positions, and a commitment to more training and diversified recruitment.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    [The budget should] increase to accommodate 350 mental health experts and community public safety ambassadors.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    We should reallocate a small amount of the LAPD's budget toward social services, mental healthcare and addiction treatment, and unarmed crisis response.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    It should be decreased. This number [16% of city budget] is not inclusive of the LAPD's full budget number of $3.2 billion which is just less than half of the city's unrestricted budget. A budget of this size leaves nothing left to invest in the health and well being of our city in the form of youth development, community development, childcare, healthcare and job training.

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    I will immediately increase co-response and alternative response teams, like the new CIRCLE initiative, that include mental health, homeless outreach and other specialists who can respond to people in distress, freeing officers to focus on crime. That’s how we maintain the current spending.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    Funding for the LAPD should stay the same.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    We cannot defund the police, but no one knows how much funding they need. We need to put LAPD to work doing just police work, and see how much that costs. There are definitely cost savings we need to put in place that can bring the budget down, but we also need to fully fund the LAPD's work to keep our communities safe.

Is it possible to reduce crime in the city without increasing the LAPD budget?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    Los Angeles cannot arrest its way out of crime. It’s not law enforcement’s role to focus on the root causes of crime and violence – community organizations and trained experts can and should be given the resources to do just that. Prevention is better than cure.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    There is no direct correlation between lower crime and higher numbers of officers, as noted by a number of studies. What is more important is how we use our officers. Our LAPD Reserves, for example, are an underutilized resource. Rather than having them direct traffic at the Staples Center, I want to position them in hot spots around the City as an increased deterrent for crime.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    Yes. We need officers to live in the communities they serve, we need to implement the 2015 Community Oriented Policing Report, we need to fully fund a non-violent community engagement force focused on mental health, addiction, and other issues. We need to ensure that people who commit real crimes serve their time, and we need to focus on anti-recidivism efforts so those people don't commit crimes again.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    The LAPD has a role to play in reducing crime, but investments in anti-poverty programs, treatment for addiction and mental illness, and unarmed crisis response will reduce crime more over time.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    Absolutely. Healthy, resourced communities are safe communities.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso
  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    No. Violent crimes are on the rise. People in every part of the city are asking for more public safety.

Media investigations have found that LAPD officers have disproportionately stopped Black drivers, and were much more likely to search Black and Latino drivers. Do you believe racial profiling is a problem?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    I have spent my adult life working on police reform, and will continue to do so if elected mayor – by focusing on how to safeguard our communities, preventing the conditions that lead to arrests, and rehabilitating people.

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    Yes, racial profiling is a problem which is why I want to re-invest in community-based policing so our senior leads and police officers know their community.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    It's time we had a real conversation about culture change in the LAPD – which starts with training practices in the Academy. As Mayor, I’ll work with the LAPD Chief to make sure every officer is trained to treat all Angelenos with dignity and respect.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    The Obama Department of Justice put together a bipartisan 2015 Community Oriented Policing Solutions roadmap that showed how to bring crime down, build trust with communities, and bring more fairness to policing while eliminating bias — we should implement that plan wholesale.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    Racial profiling is a problem in Los Angeles, and we must crack down on and end LAPD use of racial profiling.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    I believe that LAPD should be removed entirely from traffic stops.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    Hold cops accountable, hire community ambassadors to work with the department. Have communities directly part of community policing deployment.

No candidates selected this answer

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?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    While I don’t agree with all of the District Attorney’s policies, I do not support the recall – even though his approach has failed to consider some critical elements of public safety. I fundamentally believe that we can have safety and justice at the same time.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    While George Gascón and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, the recall process is a gross waste of taxpayer dollars, and should be reserved only for those accused of high crimes; not abused by the very wealthy to serve their own interests.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson
  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso
  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    I was the first candidate to call for his removal, as he is not fulfilling his constitutional duties. I believe criminal justice reform is needed, but his work is extreme and makes Angelenos more unsafe while creating a divisive environment.

View topic guide

California is in a chronic drought. Which of the following strategies most closely reflects what you think should be done at the city level to improve individual water conservation?

Candidates who agree with you

No candidates selected this answer

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    First, we must be willing to enforce rationing so that the pain of a drought is not all on the backs of our poorest residents. We also need to encourage voluntary conservation, and make it easier for Angelenos to conserve.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    Encourage voluntary rationing and institute rationing.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    We need to focus on increasing supply, not asking people to cut back, when 80%+ of water goes to Agriculture, not individuals.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

No candidates selected this answer

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles. Where do you see the biggest opportunity to lower those emissions?

Candidates who agree with you

  • Rick Caruso
    Caruso

    Rick Caruso

    The city’s fleet of cars, trucks, police cruisers, and buses are all opportunities for electrification and hydrogen power. We must move as quickly as possible to convert and replace the City’s fleet to electric and hydrogen-powered fleets.

  • Kevin de León
    de León

    Kevin de León

    One of the first things we can do is to convert all city transportation — Metro buses, light rail, etc. — to electric. Though some city CNG (“Clean” Natural Gas) are touted as lower emissions, there is no truly “clean” natural gas. To eliminate tailpipe emissions, we need to completely electrify our transit system.

  • Mel Wilson
    Wilson

    Mel Wilson

    The biggest opportunity to lower emissions is to target and require cars, trucks, buses, trains, ships and planes to use zero emission fuels in LA. I will convert Metro’s 2,000 buses, hundreds of LADOT buses and thousands of LA City fleets to zero emission fuels. We will phase out the use of fossil fuels in vessels that enter the Ports of LA. We will electrify cargo cranes, phase out the use of carbon generating trucks that enter the Ports of LA.

  • Alex Gruenenfelder
    Gruenenfelder

    Alex Gruenenfelder

    Expanding green, safe, and reliable public transit is necessary to solve our city's transportation woes.

  • Gina Viola
    Viola

    Gina Viola

    We must reduce our over dependence on car travel in this city. It is time for us to invest in our public transportation systems and make them truly public by making them free! By properly funding and investing in public transit, Los Angeles can become a healthier city.

  • Craig Greiwe
    Greiwe

    Craig Greiwe

    Building a more affordable city where people can live near where they work takes more cars off the road than any other initiative.

  • Karen Bass
    Bass

    Karen Bass

    As Mayor, I will transform our streets to become safer and more walkable – and will champion mobility options so that walking, biking, and transit are accessible to all communities… And I’ll expand our EV network, and work to electrify our bus fleet.

Your Top Matches

  • May 23, 2022: Housing and Homelessness — Updated the answer from Craig Greiwe on the first question, regarding the anti-camping law. Policing — Updated answers from Craig Greiwe on the first two questions, regarding LAPD staffing and budget.

Credits & Support

Reporting

  • Brianna Lee
  • Caitlin Biljan
  • Austin Cross
  • Maloy Moore
  • Kyle Stokes
  • Frank Stoltze
  • Camila Thur De Koos
  • Karen Wang
  • Ethan Ward

Editing

  • Ross Brenneman
  • Brian Frank
  • Oscar Garza
  • Megan Garvey
  • Paul Glickman
  • Tony Marcano
  • Rebecca Nieto
  • Ariel Zirulnick

Web Development

  • Melissa DeMund
  • Diana Chu
  • Will Welch (The City: NYC)

Videography

  • Nathaniel Beaver
  • Jerome Harris

Photography

  • James Evers

Illustrations

  • Dan Carino
  • Arantza Peña Popo

Events

  • Jon Cohn
  • Tony Federico
  • Kristen Payne
  • Rebecca Stumme

Support

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.

Conrad N Hilton Foundation and Weingart Foundation logos

Special Thanks

Special thanks to The City, which originally conceived and developed this project for voters in New York.