Bass Inauguration, 3rd Ld
Date: 12-11-2022 8:50 PM - Word Count: 1283

Bass Inauguration, 3rd Ld
   Karen Bass Inaugurated as Mayor, to Hold News Conference
   Eds: UPDATES with Bass to hold news conference, in 7th graf. Bass'
office can be reached at
   City News Service
   LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Karen Bass was sworn in as the 43rd mayor of Los
Angeles today in a historic inauguration at the Microsoft Theater, becoming the
first woman and second Black person to lead the city.
   Bass was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, a former California
senator and the first woman to serve as the nation's second-in-command.
   Nearly every major city official, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom,
attended the ceremony.
   ``Making history with each of you today is a monumental moment in my
life and for Los Angeles,'' Bass said in her speech.
   Bass addressed what she described as an ``inflection point in our
history,'' with issues including ``the pandemic, the rapidly changing economy,
the rapidly changing climate, the cost of living, (and) 40,000 people sleeping
on the street.''
   ``I believe that times of inflection require reflection -- I believe,
it's time for Angelenos to remind ourselves where we come from and who we
are,'' she said.
   Bass scheduled a news conference at 9 a.m. Monday to declare a state
of emergency on homelessness as her first act as mayor. Her reference to that
action drew a standing ovation. The emergency declaration will ``recognize the
severity of our crisis and break new ground to maximize our ability to urgently
move people inside, and do so for good.
   ``It will create the structure necessary for us to have a true,
unified and citywide strategy to set us on the path to solve homelessness,''
Bass said.
   Bass' plan also includes housing 17,000 homeless people in her first
year. She said Los Angeles has earned the ``shameful crown'' of having some of
the most overcrowded neighborhoods in the country and called for residents to
``welcome housing to every neighborhood.''
   ``We know our mission: We must build housing in every neighborhood,''
Bass said. ``We cannot continue to overcrowd neighborhoods that are already
   On crime, Bass sought a strategy to make neighborhoods safe ``that is
informed by our communities,'' which includes launching an Office of Community
   ``Of course, we must stop crimes in progress and hold people
accountable,'' Bass said. ``Some neighborhoods have asked for additional
officers, and we will deliver. But what neighborhoods are asking for and what
they need is as diverse as our city.''
   Sunday's ceremony was initially scheduled to take place outside City
Hall, but rain in the forecast led to a venue shift indoors. Instead, Bass was
sworn in on the theater's stage, with two large ``LA'' letters in the mold of
the LAX sign to her right and a picture of the Spring Street City Hall steps
behind the stage.
   ``In our city's 241-year history, we've never witnessed a day like
today as Los Angeles came together to celebrate the swearing in of Mayor Karen
Bass,'' said Mark Gonzalez, chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party,
in a statement.
   Surprise performers at the inauguration included Stevie Wonder, who
sang ``Keep Our Love Alive'' and ``Living for the City,'' and Chloe Bailey and
Las Cafeteras. Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, who also
delivered a poem at President Joe Biden's inauguration, said in her reading
Sunday that ``the time of never before is officially past.''
   ``For where there's will, there's women,'' Gorman said. ``And where
there's women, there's forever a way.''
   Sunday's event marked the first mayoral inauguration in Los Angeles in
nearly a decade, with outgoing mayor Eric Garcetti holding the post since 2013.
   Bass defeated developer Rick Caruso on Nov. 8 in an expensive and at-
times contentious race.
   She will inherit leadership of a city grappling with a scandal that
has embroiled City Hall for the past two months, after three council members
and a top county labor official took part in a recorded conversation in October
2021 that included racist comments and attempts to manipulate redistricting.
   The fallout has continued to roil City Hall, with Councilman Kevin de
León -- one of the participants in the conversation -- unexpectedly returning
to the chamber on Friday, setting off chaos as he continues to defy calls to
resign. De León later fought with an activist at a holiday tree lighting event
on Friday evening.
   City Council President Paul Krekorian, who swore in five new city
council members and a new city attorney and city controller at Sunday's
ceremony, said that there is no leader more capable of bringing the city
together than Bass.
   ``This is a time of unprecedented challenges in our city, but today as
I look out at this audience and see the people with us, I know that this is
also a time of unprecedented opportunity,'' Krekorian said.
   Krekorian added that Bass will have a ``very strong part in the Los
Angeles City Council,'' a positive sign for Bass -- who will need to have the
council renew her state of emergency for homelessness every month.
   Bass, 69, grew up in the midst of the civil rights movement with three
brothers in the Venice and Fairfax neighborhoods. She was drawn to
community activism after watching the movement on television, volunteering for
Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign when she was 14. Bass said while
her parents did not live to see her take elected office, ``their love, support
and guidance is why I stand before you today.''
   Bass' father fled the Jim Crow south during the great African American
migration after World War II and found work as a letter carrier. His
paycheck supported Bass and her siblings, and allowed her mother to choose to
be a homemaker.
   ``When I think about the dreams of working people today, I reflect on
the fact that my mother and father were able to buy a home in Los Angeles for
their family of six with one paycheck,'' Bass said.
   Bass' organizing career began in 1990 when she founded Community
Coalition, a South Los Angeles social justice group in response to the crack
cocaine crisis. In 2004, Bass was the only Black woman in the state Legislature
when she was elected to the Assembly. Four years later, she became the first
Black woman to lead the chamber. Bass was elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives in 2010 and chaired the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019 and
   State Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins said that Bass didn't
run for mayor for ``credit or photo-opps.''
   ``She is here to work,'' Atkins said. ``She is here because she loves
this city, she loves its people. She is here to answer the call to serve. And
that is who she is.''
   The new mayor called for the city to focus on solutions rather than
jurisdiction, to link arms rather than point fingers.
   ``If we just focus on bringing people inside, comprehensively
addressing their needs, and moving them to permanent housing with a way to pay
their bills, we will save lives and save our city,'' Bass said. ``That is my
mission as your mayor.''
   Bass said her father taught her to be a critical thinker, and to
understand the historical context of national and international events.
   ``My daily conversations with him led me to make a lifetime commitment
to do whatever I can to change the world,'' she said.
   Through the ``unaffordability, the difficulty, the struggle working
people face today in Los Angeles,'' Bass said that Angelenos have ``never, ever
given up.''
   ``And our magic, L.A. magic, it's still here,'' she said.
   Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-12-11-2022 20:50