Karen Bass sworn in as LA’s first female mayor by Kamala Harris
Karen Bass was sworn in as Los Angeles’ first female mayor on Sunday, marking another historic achievement in her career.
Kamala Harris – the first woman and the first woman of color to become vice president – was sworn in at Los Angeles City Hall.
Bass focused his remarks on Sunday on his plans to address the city’s housing crisis, with some 40,000 people living on the streets.
“Today, too many Angelenos have no choice but to cram multiple families into one home and work multiple jobs just to barely pay rent,” Bass said.
“Tragically, our city has earned the shameful crown of being home to the most populous neighborhoods in the country – Pico Union, South LA, East LA, East Valley,” she added. “And Angelenos, we know our mission – we have to build housing in every neighborhood.”
She said her first act as mayor would be to declare a state of emergency for homelessness.
Although billions of dollars in state, city, and county money were directed toward temporary and permanent housing, construction progressed slowly. The latest count measured a 1.7% increase in homelessness compared to the last count of 2020.
Bass’ plan calls for housing 15,000 people by the end of a year and ending tent camps using existing funds. She said the city would dedicate more resources to “neighborhood service teams” formed to connect people with housing and mental health services.
The six-term congresswoman argued that her longstanding relationships with state and national lawmakers would lead to increased funding for Los Angeles to address the city’s housing crisis.
Bass also promised to use his connections in the Biden administration to address issues such as the need for more federal housing bonds. As mayor, she said she would also seek federal waivers to allow for the creation of mental health and addiction facilities with more beds.
Bass, whose home was robbed earlier this year during the campaign, also vowed to address concerns about crime, noting his proposal to restore police numbers at a time when the city is struggling to recruit new officers. She offered to bring back at least 250 police on patrol from administrative work and said she would hire more civilian employees to free up more police to pick up the pace.
Bass overcame a fierce challenge from real estate mogul Rick Caruso, who spent more than $104 million to defeat her in November. She succeeds term-limited mayor Eric Garcetti.
Elected to the California State Assembly in 2004, Bass made history some four years later as the first black woman to serve as president of a state legislature.
When Bass takes office, the four largest cities in the United States will all have black mayors, including Eric Adams of New York, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Sylvester Turner of Houston.
This story has been updated with additional developments.