Karen Bass was sworn in as Los Angeles’ first female mayor by Kamala Harris


Karen Bass it was took an oath as the first female mayor of Los Angeles on Sunday, marking yet 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 Sunday on his plans to solve the city’s housing crisis, with about 40,000 people living on the streets.

“Too many Angelinos today have no choice but to cram multiple families into one home and work multiple jobs just to barely pay rent,” Bass said.

“Unfortunately, our city has earned the crown of shame as home to the most overcrowded neighborhoods in the nation — Pico Union, South LA, East LA, the East Valley,” she added. “And Angelinos, we know our mission — we need to build housing in every neighborhood.”

She said her first act as mayor would be to declare a state of emergency against homelessness.

Although billions of dollars in state, city and county money have been funneled into temporary and permanent housing units, construction has been slow. The latest census measures a 1.7% increase in homelessness since the last census in 2020.

Bass’ plan calls for housing 15,000 people by the end of a year and ending tent camps, using existing funding. She said the city will put more resources into trained “neighborhood service teams” to connect people with housing and mental health services.

The six-term congresswoman says her longstanding relationship 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 fix issues like the need for more federal housing vouchers. As mayor, she said she would also pursue federal waivers to allow the creation of more-bed mental health and substance abuse facilities.

Bass, whose the home was burglarized earlier this year on the campaign trail, also promised to address concerns about crime, noting his proposal to bring back police personnel at a time when the city is struggling to hire new officers. She proposed that at least 250 officers be moved back to patrol from administrative work and said she would hire more civilians to free up more officers to get back on the beat.

Bass overcame a stiff 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 about four years later as the first black woman to serve as speaker of any state legislature.

When Bass takes office, the four largest cities in the US will have black mayors – this includes Eric Adams of New York, Laurie Lightfoot of Chicago and Sylvester Turner of Houston.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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