BREAKING: Rep. Bass kicks off campaign for LA mayor, promises to make homelessness a top priority

Rep. Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, kicked off her campaign for mayor of Los Angeles Saturday, imploring a crowd of more than 400 supporters to help her form a movement to launch her into City Hall and tackle her “top priority” — the homeless crisis.

“Our city faces an unprecedented emergency,” Bass told a cheering crowd at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. “Every night over 40,000 Angelenos sleep in the streets, in tents, in cars, in doorways, parks and on beaches. And every day three or more people die on these streets. This is not Los Angeles.” She added, “Solving homelessness will be my No. 1, overwhelmingly top priority as your mayor.”

Bass pointed to the region’s response to the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, when the city responded with haste to house those who needed shelter amid the disaster. “In 1994, we treated the emergency as an emergency,” Bass said. “We mobilized local, state and federal governments. The private and nonprofit sectors. Neighbors helped neighbors. We built temporary shelters and we rebuilt our city in record breaking time. So we can rebuild our city again.”

It was Bass’ most public exclamation of her candidacy, since she announced in a Sept. 27 tweet that she would run for the seat, being vacated by Eric Garcetti whose term ends next year. She would be the first woman to occupy the post. The veteran L.A. congresswoman is the highest-profile leader so far to jump into the mayoral race, which includes City Council members Joe Buscaino and Kevin de Leon and City Attorney Mike Feurer.

The field also includes longtime San Fernando Valley business leader Mel Wilson and Jessica Lall, CEO of the Central City Association of Los Angeles — and about two dozen others. Rumored to be considering campaigns are real estate developer Rick Caruso and former L.A. Unified School District chief Austin Beutner. “This was not an easy decision to leave Congress, but it was a necessary one,” Bass said Saturday. “Because of what I saw and what I felt and what I heard from you. You shared your concerns with me. Your fears about where are city was headed” [LA Daily News].

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