Locking arms to address homelessness is top of mayor’s agenda

| December 29, 2022 | 0 Comments

NEW MAYOR and NEW NEIGHBOR Karen Bass emphasized the need for all Angelenos to lock arms to address homelessness during her December 2022 inauguration speech.
Photo by Gary Leonard

During her inauguration speech on Dec. 11, Mayor Karen Bass emphasized the need for all Angelenos to “lock arms” to address homelessness. She said that the voters elected her to lead and that she would, adding:

“But I am also asking you, Angelenos, to join me in moving our city forward.

“In addition to asking you to join me in bringing Angelenos inside, I am also calling on you to lock arms with me to make our neighborhoods — every neighborhood — safe, through a strategy that is informed by our communities.”

Her inaugural remarks touched on many issues of the day, but the main focus was on addressing homelessness. She stated that her first act as mayor would be to declare a state of emergency on homelessness, an action she took the next day at the city’s Emergency Operations Center. In the past three weeks, she has taken other steps set forth in her speech, such as where she 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.

“And so I call on our City Council, and our City Attorney and City Controller, to continue the work we started during the transition on a unified and urgent strategy to solve homelessness.

“I call on the County of Los Angeles, with its authority over health, including mental health and substance abuse, to lock arms with me — and we have already started these discussions.”

Local resident — and now city attorney — Hydee Feldstein Soto confirmed in a recent conversation that she and the mayor are meeting regularly. Also, on Dec. 20, the mayor met with the five-member County Board of Supervisors, and they unanimously expressed their support for the mayor’s emergency declaration.

Getty House

An exact move-in date to the official mayoral residence, Getty House in Windsor Square, has not been announced, bu

NEW COUNCILMEMBERS were inaugurated in December. At left, at Pan Pacific Auditorium, is Katy Young Yaroslavsky (CD 5) with Rabbi Adam Kligfeld and Congresswoman-elect Sydney Kam- lager behind her and daughter Yael mugging through the podium. At right, Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez (CD 13) offers remarks after being sworn in by Unite Here Local 11 executive vice president and nationally acclaimed labor leader Martha Santamaria (below).

t the mayor told this reporter — at the Hugo Soto-Martinez inauguration — that the interior painting had been completed the day before.

Councilmembers too

Other local inaugurations of the newly elected took place at the Pan Pacific Recreation Center for CD 5 and at the Echo Park United Methodist Church for CD 13.

At Pan Pacific, earlier in the day of the mayoral inauguration, Katy Young Yaroslavsky was joined on stage by her family, including husband David (a Superior Court Judge, who administered her oath of office), their three children (including the irrepressible and youngest, daughter Yael), David’s father, former supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, their rabbi, Adam Kligfeld, and Windsor Square neighbor and environmental leader Mary Nichols. Congresswoman-elect Sydney Kamlager served as master of ceremonies.

The following weekend, on Dec. 17 in the Echo Park church’s community room, CD 13 Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez was sworn in by Unite Here Local 11 executive vice president and nationally acclaimed labor leader Martha Santamaria.

Among those joining Soto-Martinez were fellow new Councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez (CD 1) and Tim McOsker (CD 15), as well as Councilmembers Nithya Raman (CD 4) and Marqueece Harris-Dawson (CD 8).
State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (who worked with Soto-Martinez at the hospitality workers union Local 11) spoke, as did several clergy members from the church. State Sen. Ben Allen attended, as did Mayor Karen Bass and Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago and Rick Chavez Zbur.

Echo Park United Methodist Church was founded in 1906 and has a long history of involvement in labor, immigration and social justice issues.

An essential element of the mayor’s Dec. 11 message was that needed housing should be built everywhere. She said: “We know our mission — we must build housing in every neighborhood. And the very best way for this to happen is by neighbors working together and deciding where housing should be built.” The mayor said to us:

“This is my call to you, L.A. — to welcome housing in every neighborhood.”

LARCHMONT CHARTER SHOOL students Alicia and Esther Kim started the Katy Yaroslavsky inauguration by plucking the traditional Korean zither, the gayageum.

There certainly are places in Greater Wilshire where needed housing, including affordable and permanent supportive housing, can be welcomed and built, and it should be.

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