For Black Angelenos, election of Karen Bass brings joy in a divisive time. But they want results on a host of issues, from the Police Reform Act to the City’s budget to the homeless crisis
“We’ll see what the election results are,” said Bass, who is running for City Council at the top of her council rung. “In the meantime, this is a great opportunity to bring change to the City of Los Angeles.”
For the past two years, she has been on a similar, uphill battle as others in L.A.’s powerful black business establishment, which has backed the city’s incumbent council members. But unlike most of her political allies, she’s been able to turn a race and a divisive election into an opportunity for change.
This time around, the business community is lining up behind her.
“Karen has a tremendous amount of support, and I’m very excited about the support we’ve received from the black community,” said James Smith, the general manager of FUEL, a food and beverage store in downtown Los Angeles. “I think that that’s really going to help her, because a lot of people in black communities have problems with the police.”
Karen Bass, left, and James Smith, the general manager of Fuel, take a break from prepping the shelves of Fuel, a restaurant and bar on Hollywood Boulevard, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Sarah Burns)
Bass, 57, is a high school dropout who rose from the streets to become the founder of the nonprofit Los Angeles Council of Black Elected (LACE) and a prominent community organizer who has fought to get the Police Reform Act and a host of other city services and mandates, including those designed to combat homelessness across Los Angeles, passed by council members.
She hopes to be able to use her new title as City Councilmember at large to champion