Karen Bass Sworn in as Mayor of Los Angeles: Declaring Homelessness an Emergency

Karen Bass Sworn in as Mayor of Los Angeles: Ms Bass was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris in a ceremony that both honoured her historic accomplishment and highlighted the challenges she will face.

Karen Bass, Los Angeles’s first female mayor, took office on Sunday and immediately committed to foster consensus among elected officials in the face of racial tensions, a surge in homelessness, and a new outbreak of coronavirus.

In a ceremony that both honoured Ms Bass’s historic win and highlighted the challenges she will confront, Vice President Kamala Harris swore her in. Ms Bass has stated that on her first official day in office, she will issue a state of emergency declaration regarding homelessness.

In her inaugural address, which was interrupted at one point by protesters, Ms Bass said, “If we are going to bring Angelenos inside and move our city in a new direction, we must have a single strategy to unite our city and county and engage the state, the federal government, the private sector and every other stakeholder.”

The contest between Ms Bass and Rick Caruso, a billionaire real estate entrepreneur, was too close to call until a week after the election, but ultimately Ms Bass, a former Democratic congresswoman who was on the shortlist to be President Biden’s 2020 running mate, prevailed.

Karen Bass Sworn in as Mayor of Los Angeles
Karen Bass Sworn in as Mayor of Los Angeles

Karen Bass Sworn in as Mayor of Los Angeles

Residents of Los Angeles, a city of 4 million people, have spoken out about how their quality of life has worsened due to a rise in homelessness and violent crime after the end of the pandemic. For the first time since 2012, a majority of Angelenos in a citywide poll done earlier this year by the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University felt the city was headed in the wrong way.

The coronavirus itself is still a problem, as evidenced by the fact that event participants were obliged to wear masks due to a concerning increase in local cases. Ms Bass, 69, claimed that she decided to run for office because the current climate of heightened racial disparities and civic anxiety reminded her of the tensions that existed in the city before the riots that ripped it apart in 1992.

Her house was broken into in September. Ms Bass, a longtime supporter of progressive measures to reduce crime, pledged during her campaign to increase the number of police officers in the city. She has also promised to make homelessness a national issue and house 17,000 people in her first year in office.

In order to put her ambitious ideas to improve social assistance programmes into action, she will need the support of a wide array of city and county authorities. An estimated 69,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles County, as of a September report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Ms Bass’s swearing-in event was attended by Los Angeles County Executive Fesia Davenport. She expressed her optimism that the county and the next mayor would work together to tackle homelessness.

Ms Davenport stated that she rarely attended political functions, but made an exception for this one. According to Ms Davenport, “I wanted to assist celebrate and commemorate this momentous anniversary.” I think she’s shown that she’s willing to take on the big problems, rather than merely manage them.

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Thousands of people gathered at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday to celebrate the election of Los Angeles’ first woman mayor and the city’s second Black mayor following Tom Bradley, who departed in 1993 as the longest-serving executive in Los Angeles history.

Ms Bass is only the most recent example of the increasing number of women who are taking up positions of power at the municipal level. Music was provided by Stevie Wonder (whose rendition of “Living for the City” had the new mayor on her feet), Chloe Bailey, and the duo Mary Mary.

A reading was given by poet Amanda Gorman, who received a standing ovation for her final line, “Where there’s a will, there are women, and where there are women, there is forever away.” As they waited in line to pass through security, attendees prepared for rain by donning raincoats and carrying umbrellas. Guests arrived in a variety of festive attire, from suits to sequins to Santa hats.

As the lines meandered through downtown Los Angeles, Guests at the L.A. Live complex held up their smartphones to take pictures in front of the theatre’s marquee, which featured Ms Bass’s smiling face and the slogan “A New Day for Los Angeles.”

Having resided in Los Angeles for over four decades, California Lutheran University professor Earle Charles made his way to the front of the queue on the first day of his mayoral inauguration. He has always backed Ms Bass and believes she will keep her promises if elected.

“One of the first things, of course, is to take care of the homeless situation,” said Mr Charles, 69, of Granada Hills in the San Fernando Valley. That, in my opinion, is the main problem. Other guests echoed this sentiment, saying that addressing homelessness must be a primary priority for the incoming mayor.

In an interview, 54-year-old Bertha Scott-Smith expressed her belief that Ms Bass’s predecessor, Eric Garcetti, had struggled to make substantive headway on the subject. Ms Scott-Smith, who lives in the mostly Black area of Leimert Park, expressed her wish that her neighbour would not experience the same resistance that she had.

She thought Ms Bass’s inauguration was very significant because the vice president was present. Ms Harris, along with many other prominent Democrats, flew in for the event from her home in San Francisco. She made history by becoming the first woman and the first person of colour to serve in this position.

Representatives Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, Bobby L. Rush of Illinois, Nanette Barragán of California, and Tony Cárdenas of California were all on the list, as was Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett. Apparently, Ms Bass asked Ms Harris to swear her in, and the vice president complied, as reported by Ms Allen, the vice president’s spokesman.

Ms Allen remarked, “The vice president cares about her achievement and is aware of the challenges she faces, and she will do everything it takes to achieve her goals.” Tamaqua Jackson, wearing a beret and scarf, spoke at the ceremony and expressed her faith in Ms Bass’ abilities to combat homelessness and bring unity to the community.

Ms Jackson praised Ms Bass, saying, “She seems like she can bring Los Angeles together as one,” and adding that she hoped Ms Bass would “clean up” the City Council, which has been plagued by scandal in recent months.

Ms Jackson, 48, has spent her entire life in Los Angeles, but today is her first time being sworn in as mayor. She claimed that having the VP present was one of the selling points for going to the event in person. Ms Jackson, a commercial driver, found it “another high” to meet the two candidates she had voted for. “You go, girls!”

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