Bass, Caruso will work to end homelessness — differently

| October 4, 2022 | 0 Comments

One is a congresswoman who has worked with the underserved. The other is a billionaire businessman who builds tony properties.

Both have ambitious plans to end or at least make a huge dent in the number of people living on the street. Caruso’s is more ambitious, and expensive. Bass would fine tune and expand the existing plan.

Both have ventured into our neighborhoods to speak with voters. Before the primary election in June, where Bass totaled the most votes among 10 candidates, she met interested architects and others at an AIA/LA (American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter) gathering at the downtown office of architectural and engineering firm Arup.

KAREN BASS at an AIA forum at a Downtown Los Angeles office.

In September, Rick Caruso told an audience at a meet-and-greet at a home in Hancock Park, “If you want more of the same, vote for Karen Bass. If you want change, vote for me.”

The two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles couldn’t be more different, candidate Caruso told the crowd of almost 200 gathered on June Street. Tell your friends, go on social media, get the word out, he prompted as he laid out his plan to end homelessness, reduce crime and beautify the streets.

RICK CARUSO at a home in Hancock Park.

The creator of The Grove shopping mall, Caruso served two terms on the governing board of the Dept. of Water and Power, and he was president of the Los Angeles Police Commission when, 20 years ago, after the Rodney King verdict, the city was in a similar tailspin, he says.

He helped usher in a new era, which included community policing and hiring an additional 800 police officers. Crime was cut by 30 percent, Caruso said.

The city is again on the brink, with corruption at the highest levels for city council members and others in high-level positions. It’s a problem that “can’t be fixed from the inside,” said Caruso.

(He pointed to Bass being linked to a federal bribery and corruption case at USC, where she received a full-tuition scholarship.)

Meanwhile, Bass has pointed to another scandal at USC, where she implies that Caruso covered up a sexual abuse case involving a gynecologist and hundreds of women when he was chair of the school’s board of trustees.

Both candidates deny the allegations.

Neither Rick Caruso nor Karen Bass responded in time to our several requests for an interview.

Karen Bass’ plan
If elected, Bass says she will appoint a homelessness chief and force the city and county to work together and stop their finger pointing, and count every dollar. “We must spend these resources effectively and efficiently — and that means getting more bang for our buck.” She will be a fierce advocate in Washington for federal dollars, she says.

Bass says she will house 15,000 people in her first year; build more temporary and permanent supportive housing; end street encampments and lead on mental health and substance abuse treatment.

According to the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 24, Bass would work with and expand the current system and build new shelter beds to accommodate 1,000 people and rely on vouchers, and she would promote the leasing and purchase of motels and hotels.

Her plan estimates a first-year cost of $292 million including construction and operating expenses for shelter beds, according to the Times article.

She calls herself a leader with a vision who builds coalitions.

“Los Angeles can be a city where all people have access to quality health care” and “where its economy can work for everyone.”

She will double down on crime prevention and return the LAPD to its full currently authorized force of 9,460 sworn officers as well as recruit new officers and improve training. She will invest in social services and job programs and hire civilians to take over LAPD desk jobs.

A former emergency room physician’s assistant and community organizer, Bass founded Community Coalition in 1990, advocating converting motels into housing decades before COVID-19 prompted the creation of Project Roomkey.

She previously served six years in the State Assembly, the last two as speaker during the Great Recession. She was the first Black woman to head a state legislative body.

She was elected to represent the people of the 37th Congressional District, north and south of the 10 Freeway, in 2011. In the House of Representatives, as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus during the Trump Administration, she has shown she can work across the aisle, she argues. She is chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights.

Rick Caruso’s plan
Caruso says he will declare a state of emergency on his first day, appoint a citywide homelessness coordinator, and institute accountability and an audit to end waste.

He says he will build 30,000 shelter beds in 300 days while implementing construction of additional long-term affordable housing. He said it is time to take back our parks and public spaces and address mental health and addiction head-on. Construction experts would be hired, he adds.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Caruso would create new interim housing — Tiny Homes — on underutilized government parcels to temporarily shelter 15,000 people. Another 15,000 people would be placed in sleeping pods in existing warehouses and other structures. Caruso estimated it would cost up to $843 million in the first year. The Times estimated it would cost another $660 million per year for operating expenses.

Caruso says he will restore LAPD’s budget, return to community-based policing and place on the street 1,500 new sworn officers in addition to the currently authorized 9,460 (but currently staffed 9,284) officers as well as expand youth prevention and afterschool programs.

Caruso notes that he is not a career politician. He will work for $1 a year if elected mayor. As to why he’s a Democrat, after being an independent and a Republican? He answers that he is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He left the Republican party 10 years ago to avoid the extremes he saw.

Caruso has donated to various charitable causes, but when it comes to politics, he said, he has mostly given to Democrats.

Visit and


This article’s third paragraph was revised on 10-06-22 to correctly report that the gathering with Karen Bass was at the downtown office of architectural and engineering firm Arup, not at the CO Architects office adjoining La Brea Hancock, and the photo caption was corrected accordingly.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *