Karen Bass becomes the first female mayor of Los Angeles | International

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Karen Bass, a 69-year-old black woman, made history this Wednesday by becoming the first woman to govern Los Angeles in its 241-year history. The AP agency has declared the Democratic congresswoman the winner after a week of uncertainty after the November 8 elections. The first few hours after the vote showed Bass tied with billionaire developer Rick Caruso. One week before the elections, and with the counting of the votes by mail, the legislator's advantage has been increasing, which has made the trend irreversible.

Bass's milestone puts California's largest city on a par with other major cities in the United States, including Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston and Boston, which have been run by female mayors. In addition, the congresswoman also becomes the second African-American to occupy the City Council, after the emblematic Tom Bradley, who left office in 1993 after 20 years as mayor.

Caruso, 63, failed despite investing more than $100 million out of pocket in his effort. His investment multiplied by ten the budget that Bass managed to add in donations. Caruso, who was a Republican and registered as a Democrat this year, campaigned on a strong-armed message in a bastion of progressive politics, but it resonated with voters who believe that Los Angeles has been in a state of unrest for years. advanced deterioration process.

Caruso promised to cleanse the city of crime and reduce the homeless problem, one of the worst in the West. Bass, however, challenged this claim during the race, stating that in decades of business as a builder, Caruso had not built a single residential building for the working classes.

The fight between both candidates was quite arduous in the last weeks of the campaign, an indicator that the advantage of several points with which the contest began was closing. In an attempt to discredit her, Caruso linked Bass to the controversial Church of Scientology, to whom the politician gave a favorable speech. Bass accused the businessman of keeping quiet during a sexual abuse scandal when he was on the board of trustees at the University of Southern California, USC. On election day, the distance between the two was less than 3,000 votes. This difference has been growing. Bass now leads by almost 10,000 votes.

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Bass is a political veteran with experience as a social worker and community leader. Her triumph is crucial for the moment she is going through in the Los Angeles City Council, weakened by a scandal that exposed the power struggle between Latino and African-American councilors. Bass strongly condemned the racist statements of the politicians involved (who supported her in her candidacy). She will now have to work to heal the wounds in a city where racial tensions can surface at any time.

Karen Bass has been in Washington for 11 years. She is part of the progressive bloc in Congress. She is one of the women closest to President Joe Biden, who came to consider her on the list of vice-presidential candidates, a space that was ultimately left in the hands of another California politician, Kamala Harris.

Bass was born in South Los Angeles and grew up in the downtown Fairfax area. For years she has represented the 37th district of California, a densely populated area of ​​the city and where neighborhoods such as Baldwin Hills, where she lives, are located. This is considered the Beverly Hills of African Americans. Around this area are areas such as Crenshaw and Inglewood, where the black Angelina population has historically concentrated, representing 9% of the region's diverse ethnic makeup.

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