The LA Mayoral Election: Everything You Need to Know

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Right now, Los Angeles is at its most significant turning point since 2013. All three citywide offices, including mayor, city attorney, and city controller, will be filled by us, the voters, in addition to eight of the city’s 15 council seats. Twelve people are on the ballot for mayor with five leading candidates at the helm, from a prominent politician to a billionaire real estate developer. But, despite the high stakes, nearly 39% of potential voters are unsure who to support. That’s where SBP comes in. We’ve compiled everything you need to know, including each candidate’s stance, how and where to vote, and more — all below.

How & Where to Vote

County election officials sent out ballots to registered voters on May 9, so double-check your mail. Not sure if you’re registered? Check your status here. Want to register but haven’t yet? Do so online by visiting registertovote.ca.gov (please note you must register by May 23 in order to vote in the primary election). Applications can also be found at public libraries, government offices, and some post offices. If you miss this deadline, visit a voting center on or before June 7 to complete a same-day voter registration. You can find the nearest polling place here.  

The Candidates (in random order)

Karen Bass 

Karen Bass is a U.S. Representative from California’s 37th congressional district who was recently on President Biden’s shortlist for VP. Karen has support from progressive activists, politicians, and Hollywood celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman.

Rick Caruso

Rick Caruso is a billionaire real estate developer (think Palisades Village and The Grove) and a long-time civic figure whose support has nearly tripled in the last few months, bringing him to the front of the race with a 23% approval rating alongside Karen Bass who also has 23%. 

Kevin de León

Kevin de León is a city councilman, former State Senate leader, and a distinguished progressive. In his campaign, Kevin has touted his background as the son of a Guatemalan immigrant and single mother in DTLA (Los Angeles is 49% Latino). Right now, he has a 6% approval rating.  

Joe Buscaino

Joe Buscaino is a city councilman and former LAPD police officer. During his campaign, Joe has positioned himself as a moderate, similar to Eric Adams — new New York City mayor who has similar experience in the NYPD. 

Mike Feuer 

Mike Feuer has served as Los Angeles’ city attorney for the last nine years. He has emphasized his government experience and even promised to visit every city (a whopping 101 of them) to promote himself, which he just recently accomplished. 

Ramit Varma

Ramit Varma is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Revolution Prep, an online tutoring platform dedicated to making tutoring more effective and higher education more attainable for America’s youth. Ramit is running as an Independent and declares it’s time for a new kind of Mayor. One that is not part of the political machine.

Key Issues

Homelessness

Homelessness is amongst the most pressing issues in this year’s mayoral race. Today, nearly 66,400 people are homeless in Los Angeles, with 28% of those living directly on the streets. All five leading candidates aside from Kevin de León have said they would declare a state of emergency if elected, bestowing a great deal of mayoral power to take action — which would include increased housing and law enforcement. 

Crime & Police Funding

Violent crime in LA is near its highest point in a decade, and the LAPD currently employs 9,440 officers. This is a ratio of 23.6 of officers per 10,000 residents while NYC has 45 and Chicago has 40. Thus, LAPD funding has become a top policy question. On the more liberal side, Karen Bass and Mike Feuer have said they would hire 200 and 500 more officers, respectively, while Rick Caruso and former police officer Joe Buscaino have assumed a moderate position and vowed to hire 1,500 more officers. Kevin de León confirmed he would not increase LAPD staffing. 

Pandemic Response

During a recent debate, Karen Bass, Rick Caruso, and Mike Feuer said they would follow the advice of public health officials and take big steps to prevent another major shutdown. Kevin de León addressed the need for preparedness if and when a surge happens, while Joe Buscaino vowed to end all COVID-19 emergency orders and get rid of the city’s mandate for police, firefighters, and other city workers to be vaccinated. 

Affordable Housing

All six leading candidates have vocalized their position to increase the amount of affordable housing in Los Angeles, which would thus decrease the costs for renters and buyers. Rick Caruso has argued that people need housing, and he’s a builder. With Karen Bass and Mike Feuer, they’re focused on cutting bureaucratic processes that slow approval for new plans. Kevin de León has proposed a first-time buyers fund, and only Joe Buscaino has said he would declare a state of emergency for housing. Ramit Varma wants to reduce poverty by building affordable housing and creating the “city of the future”.

This is an incredibly decisive year for Los Angeles, and the city’s future lies in our hands . Now get out there and VOTE!

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