The CALÓ NEWS opinion editor reached out to both candidates running to be the next mayor of Los Angeles. U.S. Rep. Karen Bass answered our questions on why she wants to be the next mayor of Los Angeles and how she will address issues of concern to Latino voters.

More than a third of the voters in Los Angeles are Latino. If elected mayor, how will  you address the concerns of Latino voters? 

I plan to address the concerns of the Latino community – and all Angelenos – and  will work to make Los Angeles more affordable, more equal and more safe. We  need a mayor who will deliver an urgent, real and comprehensive plan to end  homelessness. The recent LAHSA census of L.A.’s homeless population showed a  rise in Latino homelessness by 26%, the largest increase of any demographic group.  As Mayor, I plan to adopt culturally relevant strategies to overcome institutional and  cultural barriers (such as immigration status, lack of internet access and language  barriers) to accessing rent relief programs and other housing services. Lastly, I plan  to work vigorously to unite all Angelenos regardless of race or background. 

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Latinos make up 20% of  Independents in the state. How would you address the concerns of Latino voters who are  not affiliated with the Democratic Party? 

If elected mayor, I will be a mayor for ALL Angelenos. At the end of the day, all  Angelenos – regardless of their party affiliation – deserve to live in a city that has  solved homelessness, where people feel and are safe, and where everyone can afford  to live and raise a family. 

According to the New American Economy, immigrants accounted for 36.3% of LA  City’s population and 41.3% of the working-age population. How will you represent LA  Latino residents who are immigrants? How will you represent those who are L.A. residents  but non-citizens and thus unable to vote? 

The immigrant community is a core part of our city’s fabric and economy.  Unfortunately, many immigrant workers have been disproportionately impacted by  the pandemic and many are vulnerable to exploitation by employers because of fears  pertaining to their immigration status. 

As Mayor, I would enhance the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to promote and  advance the economic well-being of immigrant workers, and expand and tailor  resources and services to ensure they are linguistically and culturally appropriate for  different immigrant communities. 

I would also invest and partner with trusted messengers like immigrant rights  groups, immigrant worker centers, unions, and educational institutions to provide  important know-your-rights workshops in multiple languages to immigrant workers,  and launch campaigns to remind employers about their legal responsibilities.

I want to build a Los Angeles where we can all thrive together. To do this, we need  to protect the rights of immigrant workers against workplace exploitation, and we  need to create economic opportunities for immigrants to prosper. 

Latinos make up 44.5% of Los Angeles County’s unhoused population. How will you  address this crisis that disproportionately impacts Latinos in Los Angeles? 

The rise in Latino homelessness is deeply disturbing. Our response to  homelessness must address the unique needs of specific populations, including the  Latino community. That includes well-resourced and tailored interventions to  address the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on many immigrants and  communities of color. While we don’t yet know what specifically caused  homelessness to rise in the Latino community, it’s possible that one reason could be  legitimate fear of accessing resources due to immigration status. We must ensure  that Angelenos are not afraid to access resources because of their status. I have a  comprehensive and urgent plan to house over 15,000 Angelenos in my first year in  office by building more temporary and permanent housing, providing mental health  and substance abuse services, job training and employment assistance, and aligning  every level of government to bring home the resources we need to solve this crisis. 

The home ownership rate for Latinos in California is around 49%. What policies or  programs would you support to increase Latino home ownership? 

The chronic lack of affordable housing is a major driver of homelessness and  pervasive inequality, and it disproportionately impacts the Latino community. Until  we make housing affordable in Los Angeles, the crisis on our streets will only get  worse – and our children will continue to wonder whether they can afford to raise  their own families in L.A. 

As we know, homeownership is one of the key pathways to building  intergenerational wealth. As a Congressmember and former California  Assemblymember, I have supported legislation that expands homeownership,  especially for communities of color. 

As Mayor, I will support programs such as Low Income Purchase Assistance and  Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Programs for first time homebuyers in our  city. 

In addition, for those homeowners who want to build an accessory dwelling unit on  their own property, I plan to make it easier for homeowners to get permits, and  support financing programs to help them build – producing thousands of units  quickly and cheaply, while helping grown children and elderly parents stay close to  loved ones.

What other measures would you take to build more affordable housing for homeowners  and renters in Los Angeles? 

A: I plan to expedite approvals, waive development fees and work with the  community to build more permanent housing. I will also take targeted reforms to our  zoning laws to increase capacity, while ensuring that new construction is consistent  with the neighborhood character of each individual community. To read my  comprehensive plan to protect renters, preserve our existing housing stock, and build  more housing, please visit 

Between 2016 and 2018, Latinos in California made up 39% of the population but  represented 46% of deadly police shootings. Do you think there needs to be police reform?  Do you support increased or decreased funding of the police? What steps would you take  as mayor? 

I believe that the Mayor’s most important responsibility is to keep Angelenos  safe, while also ending harmful policing practices like racial profiling, which  undermine safety & community trust. I plan to re-envision public safety with  community input and dialogue. As Mayor, I will establish an Office of Community  Safety in the Mayor’s Office to support collaboration between communities to build  strong and healthy neighborhoods, and invest deeply in proven crime prevention  strategies. 

Should local law enforcement play a role in enforcing immigration laws? 

No, Los Angeles is and should remain a Sanctuary City and the LAPD should not  be burdened with the federal government’s responsibility to enforce immigration  law. I do not support an ICE presence in local and state correctional facilities, nor do  I support ICE transfers, absent a judicial warrant. 

As Mayor, I will also expand and improve the Justice Fund. In 2017, New York City  invested $500,000 to create a pilot program to provide legal representation to  documented and undocumented immigrants. It now invests $16 million and has  expanded the program. The City of Los Angeles is falling behind and must do more  to strengthen the immigrant services legal infrastructure. 

Do you support abortion rights? If so, what policies or plans do you have to ensure  access to abortion rights locally? 

Absolutely. I have been a champion of reproductive health and overall wellness  throughout my career. Having worked in health clinics and emergency rooms  treating women of color from the most underserved communities of Los Angeles, I  have seen the challenges within the healthcare system that women face when it  comes to accessing reproductive health and wellness resources. This perspective  continues to inform my legislative advocacy, which I will continue as Mayor of Los 

Angeles, especially as the rights of all women across the country continue to be  under attack. 

How well are Latinos represented in your campaign staff? If elected, how will you  work to ensure Latino promotion and advancement in city government? 

Latinos make up a third of Los Angeles voters and at least half of our city’s  population. It is essential Latinos have a greater voice in leadership and policy  matters, and it starts with ensuring we have representation in leadership.  

I believe that diversity in staff appointments is critically important, which is why  Latinos serve in leadership capacities in every department of my campaign. 

If elected mayor, I am committed to appointing an Administration that reflects the  diversity of Los Angeles. That includes the appointment of Latino leaders in staff  capacities in the Mayor’s Office and as General Managers, Commissioners, Trustees  and Appointees of Governing Bodies, and any other position that is important in  governance. 

In general, Latina women are compensated just 57% of what non-Hispanic white men  were paid in 2020. How would you work to address pay inequity in the city and at large? 

Throughout my life, I have fought against wage discrimination, inadequate  benefits, and inappropriate workplace misconduct. In Congress, I co-sponsored the  Paycheck Fairness Act because it is abominable that Latinas are the lowest paid  group in the United States, making only 55 cents for every dollar earned by white  men. And because I understand that equal pay is not simply a women’s issue; it’s a  family issue. Two-thirds of mothers are either the primary breadwinner or a co breadwinner in the household, so their earnings are vital to their families. 

I will continue to fight for women’s equal pay, equal access to opportunity, and  equal representation in my administration. 

I have a plan to create economic opportunity for all communities, including  the creation of a Climate Jobs Accelerator to rapidly expand good-paying jobs in  climate-critical industries, especially those that have been historically low-wage  such as residential energy efficiency, rooftop solar, fire prevention, trucking, and  waste. 

Spending on clean investments and sustainable infrastructure creates nearly three  times more jobs per dollar than other infrastructure investments. But women and  people of color are underrepresented in these jobs, and wage disparities have led to  persistent workforce inequities – making affordability a real issue.

The Accelerator will be anchored by deep partnerships with labor, community-based  organizations, workers, and educational institutions to support a comprehensive,  regional approach to workforce development that touches every sector of the clean  economy. 

Unprecedented climate investments will be available through the Inflation  Reduction Act and other federal and state legislation. As Mayor, I will secure and  leverage these dollars in underserved areas, scaling the innovation already underway  at places like the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator so that more Angelenos have  access to lucrative career opportunities that address our climate crisis. 

What does diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you? How will you uphold these  values if you are elected mayor? 

As Mayor I plan to ensure we are always seeking to create equitable, healthy and  just communities where people can live and thrive. I believe that in order to  empower our communities we must equip them with resources and knowledge to  achieve equity and justice through community engagement, coalition building, and policy advocacy.