Progressives Have Massively Failed L.A.

Chamba SanchezBy Chamba SanchezJune 2, 2022
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Voters who like to vote on election day in Los Angeles will be heading to polling places and voting for a whole bunch of people next week-June 7th.  We will be handed a massive eight-page ballot.

In 2015 civic leaders hoping to increase turnout in Los Angeles asked voters to amend the city charter. Voters agreed and mayoral elections were moved to even-numbered years.  Next week, California will hold its primaries; candidates of all parties will be participating in a non-partisan primary.  Party affiliation will play no role, and the two top vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.

I was recently asked how Caruso’s candidacy gained traction in this liberal city.  Yes, money is a factor but not the overall factor.  We have had candidates with so much money who didn’t win the office.  Money without a message will not go far. Candidate Caruso has capitalized on the profound lack of progressive leadership in this town.

Progressives leading this city have spectacularly failed us.  Voters are angry; their anger and discontent are palpable. They want a new leadership fueled with action.

Piles of trash everywhere, people being followed to their homes and then robbed at gunpoint, civic leaders indicted for betraying the public trust, tents at every other block with homeless individuals, and communities of color have been flooded with marijuana dispensaries.  The quality of life in this city has been significantly reduced. L.A., a city, once known as a bastion of progressiveness, has become a place of chaos and filth.

This is why Representative Bass and Councilman Kevin De Leon have not generated enthusiasm in this mayoral race.  Both candidates represent a nod to continuity at a time when continuity is not warranted.

I had voted and helped De Leon and Karen Bass when they first ran for the assembly.  Yes, they are decent, intelligent, and well-liked people, but the city’s profound problems are beyond their paygrade.  They both have been in leadership positions in this state.  Kevin De Leon was the President of the State Senate, and Karen Bass was the speaker.  Moreover, Kevin De Leon became a councilman not long ago and is now looking for another job.  He is an illustration of the so-called progressive politicians in California. They get elected to an office and begin looking for the next gig the following day.  They are not interested in solving problems. They all think about the next job whenever they make decisions.

According to recent polls, homelessness is in everyone’s mind. I don’t think I have ever seen a community problem with considerable public resources getting such a slight incremental improvement. We, voters, agreed to pay more taxes, hoping the homeless problem would significantly decrease. No, outgoing Mayor Garcetti monumentally wasted resources.

Los Angeles Times has reported that those mobile restrooms we see around the city serving homeless individuals cost $339,000.00 a year.  And then the housing units insanely cost $837,000.00.  It is a glaring display of the high-level incompetence of outgoing mayor Garcetti.  The next mayor should immediately stop whatever Garcetti was doing and fire anybody connected to him.  Yes, this new mayor must carefully evaluate all contracts dealing with these housing units.

Serious crimes have also spiraled out of control.  Even those who truly believe that we have to invest more in proactive endeavors and less in LAPD cringe when the “woke left” demands “defunding of the police department.”   The rich have their own security in their gated communities. They don’t need police departments; poor communities of color do.  Representative Bass skeptically revealed that she would increase LAPD by 100 officers.  We all saw how ruthlessly the woke left went after her.

I have been following this mayoral race closely with an open mind. I have watched most of the debates, and I have attended two.  Like many people in this city, I feel helpless and hopeless.  I pay attention to what the candidates say and do and I could see that a persuasive narrative is escaping Representative Bass. She likes to improvise and says many things. I am still not clear what her plan of action is.  I see her at events with the same advisors who have been advising other establishment candidates here in L.A. for years.

In addition, Karen Bass recently told Steve Lopez from LA Times that she didn’t have big ideas. And at debates, it shows that she doesn’t have the fire in the belly displayed by politicians who want to win elections. Representative Bass’ responses to these debates don’t go beyond her conducting audits and identifying waste and fraud.

She offers nothing new. She recycles proposals other candidates had previously offered.

Rick Caruso’s narrative centers on the city’s challenges and how his background in building empires gave him the foundation needed to take on the major underlying tasks to fix L.A.  He tells voters that the city teeters on the brink and that other candidates have been in positions of leadership way too long and didn’t do anything significant for the city. He also tells them, I am not your candidate if you want more of the same.

Caruso’s message resonates very well with the non-frequent voters and those who are not politically connected. He also mocks other candidates; they have spent their lives in politics protecting the status quo, he tells audiences.

At least 40% of voters have not decided who to vote for.  Most people, including me, see Representative Bass and Rick Caruso moving to the general election next Tuesday.  A lot of money is being spent on those undecided voters. Candidate Caruso has barraged voters with slick ads about his candidacy.  He has been relentless that some pundits are whispering that he might win this thing outright next week by getting over the 50% and avoiding a runoff.  It is doubtful that this will happen.

If you have not heard from the mayoral candidates, Los Angeles Times interviewed the major candidates. Here are links for three of them still running: the link for Karen Bass, link for Caruso, and the link for De Leon.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I am voting for Rick Caruso next week.
Photo Credit: Bigstock photo used for this piece.

Resources consulted.
Karen Bass for Los Angeles mayor.” Editorial. Los Angeles Times 1st May 2022.
“Los Angeles is spending up to $837,000 to house a single homeless person.” KTLA 24 Feb. 2022.
Lopez, Steve. “Karen Bass wants to end homelessness. Are know-how and connections enough?” Los Angeles Times 7 May 2022.
Reyes, Emily R. “$339,000 for a restroom? L.A. politicians balk at the cost of toilets for homeless people.” Los Angeles Times 10 June 2019.





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