Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Four candidates in next year’s Los Angeles mayoral election appeared in their first public forum together Dec. 12.
City Attorney Mike Feuer, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, businessman Craig Greiwe and Jessica Lall, CEO of the Central City Association, pitched their credentials at the event, hosted by the Stonewall Democratic Club and co-hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Minority AIDS Project.
City Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Kevin de León had confirmed for the event but did not attend.
Stonewall Democratic Club members will vote to endorse a candidate on Dec. 20.
The candidates were asked to address a handful of issues, including homelessness, housing affordability, crime and climate change.
On the issue of homelessness, Bass said “We need to address the root causes.” She said it “needs to be treated like a natural disaster.”
Regarding climate change, she called it “existential crisis of our country,” and said she wanted to involve the business community. “Can we have people work at certain times remotely?” she asked, citing the way it has helped during the COVID-19-related lockdowns.
Feuer promised to address the homeless crisis by declaring the situation a “state of emergency on day one.” He proposed establishing a strike team at CIty Hall as part of a new street-engagement strategy. “Our public spaces need to be safe for everybody,” he said.
Greiwe said he did not want to minimize the problem, but added that the number of unhoused residents was between 50,000 and 60,000 people, “that’s a football stadium,” he said. “Are you telling me we can’t fix a stadium-size problem? We can.” He cited ways in which other cities have tackled the issue, and claimed he could effectively eliminate homelessness after his first year in office.
Lall identified herself as “an outsider with insider knowledge,” and said she has “seen firsthand what needs to change” and said she knows how to make that change. She said, Angelenos “don’t just feel safe, but are safe.”
Freelance journalist Jarrett Hill and Spectrum News 1 anchor Tanya McRae served as moderators.
Founded in Los Angeles in 1975, the Stonewall Democratic Club touts itself as “the home for progressive Democrats who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies of the LGBT community.” The group says it advocates for and encourages diversity, social equity, and inclusion.
The primary for the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election will take place June 7, with the top two finishers squaring off in the general election Nov. 8.
Other candidates running to replace a termed-out Eric Garcetti include real estate agent Mel Wilson, and entrepreneur Ramit Varma.