Abortion — an issue that typically plays little role in L.A. local elections — has cast a long shadow over the race as the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roy vs. Wade’s decision leaked ahead of the primary .
Bass invoked abortion rights and the specter of Caruso’s Republican past when he described himself as a “lifelong pro-choice Democrat” in his opening remarks.
When asked about the role of reproductive rights for the mayor of Los Angeles, Bass described the matter as a “value issue,” whether or not the city is involved in managing health care.
Caruso — whose past donations to anti-abortion politicians have been the subject of frequent campaign attacks — has hit back fiercely.
First, he clarified his position on voters, saying, “I’m for choice, and I always have been.”
He then said the “same standards” used for him should apply to Bass. Bass donated to a Georgia congressman who supported the Hyde Amendment, which bars Medicaid from funding abortions, he said. (A Times reporter is fact-checking the allegation.)
Caruso has been outspoken about his support for abortion rights on the campaign trail, but his previous donations include more than $240,000 Super PAC support John Kasich2016 Republican presidential race; $100,000 for PAC support President George W. BushRe-elected in 2004; $50,000 for PAC support Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) in 2017; and paid $4,300 to committee supporting senators. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 2007. Caruso also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican committees between 2003 and 2017.
Caruso mentioned his repeated promises to build 30,000 units in his first year in office. To achieve this expensive plan, he wanted to build tiny houses for 15,000 people and temporarily house another 15,000 people in “sleeping cabins” in existing structures, such as warehouses and empty buildings.
The estimated cost of building or purchasing the home and preparing it for occupancy in the first year is $843 million. He declined to estimate the operating costs of housing 30,000 people, but a Times analysis of city documents found it would cost about $660 million a year, or about $22,000 per person.
Bass criticized Caruso’s plan, saying it was all about temporary housing and didn’t offer a balanced approach. She also laid out her plan to expand temporary and permanent housing by moving away from the current system as much as possible, bringing 15,000 people indoors, albeit on a much smaller scale than Caruso envisions.
She will build new shelter beds to accommodate about 1,000 people, expand the use of housing vouchers, lease and buy motels and hotels, and try other approaches. The list price for the first year is $292 million, including construction costs and operating expenses for the shelter bed.
“Shelters have become so dangerous that people don’t even want to be in shelters, they’re choosing to be out on the street, so we have temporary housing, but time has to be very limited and we have to put people into permanent supportive housing ,” Bass said.
Both candidates have spoken about how shelters have become a problem.
The Karoo Index has been used recently Research The RAND Corporation said congregation shelters are not the preferred destination for the homeless. Less than a third of those surveyed in Hollywood, the Sliding District and Venice said “group shelters” were an acceptable housing option.
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
Bass mentioned homelessness and made it clear that she is a “lifelong pro-choice Democrat.” She added that she thinks “we can be in a city where people don’t get turned away by house prices because they’re too expensive, but actually come in.”
In Caruso’s answer to the question, he mentioned that his grandparents were from Boyle Heights before he mentioned homelessness and crime. “Los Angeles is always a dream come true.”
Karen Bass and Rick Caruso in Skirball
With less than seven weeks until the Nov. 8 election, Rep. Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso will hold their first in-person debate tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Both campaigns have gone into combat mode in recent weeks, with Caruso and Bass attacking each other’s character and morals. It will be the first time they have parried without other candidates, and it is unclear what their dynamic will look like — or how negative the candidates are willing to take.
Sponsored by The Times, Univision, KPCC, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles Urban League and Loyola Marymount University, the debate is moderated by Times columnist Erika D. Smith and Fox 11 news anchor Elex Michaelson.
The debate was preceded by a debate featuring two candidates in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s race, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. As the sheriff left the stage, Caruso greeted Villanueva. “It sounds like you’re doing well,” Caruso told him. He also greeted Luna.
There are about 200 people in the Skirball field. The audience included city councilman and former mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino, as well as students from Loyola Marymount University in red and white T-shirts.
Bass finished June’s primary with a 7-point lead, and an August poll by the UC Berkeley Institute for Government, co-sponsored by The Times, put her ahead of Caruso by 12 points.
But with nearly a quarter of Los Angeles voters still undecided, according to the polls, Wednesday’s debate offers Caruso and Bass a potentially decisive opportunity to reintroduce themselves to voters three weeks before general election ballots are mailed.