Los Angeles mayoral debate: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso discuss racism scandal at LA City Hall

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — In less than a month, Los Angeles should know who the city’s next mayor will be.

On Tuesday, mayoral candidates Rep. Karen Bass and billionaire developer Rick Caruso debated for the third and final time.

The big topic was how they would tackle the recent City Hall scandal – a leaked recording between three council members and a powerful union leader who caught them making crude and racist remarks at a secret meeting about redistribution tactics.

Nury Martinez resigned from the council on Wednesday. Kevin de Léon and Gil Cedillo have not resigned despite calls from numerous groups and politicians, including President Joe Biden.

Both mayoral candidates supported Martinez’s resignation.

“Ms. Martinez did the right thing,” Bass said. “For Los Angeles to move in the right direction, Mr. De Léon and Mr. Cedillo must also resign.”

Caruso said: “She made the right choice. We need to move forward and heal as a city.” Caruso also called for Cedillo and De Léon to resign.

At Tuesday’s debate, both candidates expressed their belief that they could provide the new leadership Los Angeles needs.

“We need a new direction in LA and new leadership,” Bass said. “I want to make sure that we reject divide and conquer politics.”

Caruso, as he has spoken throughout his campaign, linked the redistribution controversy to claims that the system was broken – exacerbating problems like homelessness and crime. He presented himself as a candidate for change, blaming a failure of leadership for the City Hall scandal.

“People spend more time protecting themselves and protecting their jobs than working for city residents,” Caruso said. “That’s why we have crime out of control.”

Bass said she would address racial segregation caused by the racism of the officers in the leaked recording, using her experience as the founder of the South Los Angeles nonprofit organization Community Coalition, which she founded in the 1990s.

Caruso pointed to his work bringing communities together to fight crime when he was on the city’s police commission two decades ago, and also said he and his wife have provided scholarships and health care in black and brown communities.

Unlike the first two debates, which featured lively exchanges and back-and-forth accusations linking each other to scandals, Tuesday’s debate took on a more civil tone – perhaps with a view to the town hall scandal.

Both candidates even agreed with each other’s answers and complimented each other on several occasions, a rarity during the first two debates.

Caruso continued his election campaign on Wednesday, speaking to Metro drivers. Meanwhile, Bass was at LAX to greet President Joe Biden while he was visiting Southern California for about two days.

The City News Service contributed to this report.

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https://abc7.com/la-mayors-race-karen-bass-rick-caruso-los-angeles-mayor/12322705/ Los Angeles mayoral debate: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso discuss racism scandal at LA City Hall

Laura Coffey

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