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LA Enters New Era With First Woman Mayor

Karen Bass, wearing glasses and a light blue suit jacket and blue blouse, has her left hand on a bible and her right hand raised as she faces Kamala Harris, whose back is turned to the camera.
Karen Bass is sworn in as the first women elected mayor of Los Angeles in an inauguration ceremony held at Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022.
(Brian Feinzimer
/
for LAist)
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Today marks a new era in Los Angeles. Karen Bass officially starts her job as L.A. mayor, the first woman and second Black person to serve in this position in the city’s 241-year history.

Karen Bass Is Sworn In As LA Mayor

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Bass was sworn in yesterday. In true L.A. fashion, the city hosted a star-studded event for her inauguration at the Microsoft Theater with performances by poet Amanda Gorman, Chloe Bailey and Stevie Wonder. Fellow Californian, Vice President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office.

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The event focused on the power of women in politics, putting the spotlight on female politicians like Toni Atkins, the first female California Senate leader; Eleni Kounalakis, the first woman to be elected lieutenant governor and, of course, Harris, the first woman to serve as U.S. Vice President. There were shout-outs for the all-women L.A. County Board of Supervisors, L.A.’s first female city attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto and for the record six women on L.A.'s City Council.

As for Bass, my colleague Frank Stoltze writes that there are challenges and opportunities in store as she governs the second largest city in the country. She’s definitely got the chops to take it on. Read Frank’s story about Bass’s beginnings as a founder of the Community Coalition and her 12 years as a congresswoman. Steve Soboroff, a businessman and one of Bass’s transition team members, said her experience in congress could help her obtain federal financial support to tackle complicated issues like homelessness.

During her inauguration, Bass reiterated that she will indeed declare a state of emergency on homelessness on her first day.

“My emergency declaration will recognize the severity of our crisis and break new ground to maximize our ability to urgently move people inside, and do so for good,” Bass said on Sunday. “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.”

Bass will need the approval of the city council to do so — a council, I’ll also point out, that is undergoing a major upheaval after a scandal and a midterm election. The mayor cannot declare emergencies unilaterally. My colleague Caitlin Hernández explains the extent of the mayor’s power here.

Bass also announced a new department called the Office of Community Safety she said would try to solve community issues by talking to locals within neighborhoods to figure out their needs. “In addition to asking you to join me in bringing Angelenos inside," she said, "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."

You can read more about Sunday’s event here and her hope to build housing "in every neighborhood."

As we prepare to cover Bass’s term, we at LAist want to hear from you. What should we prioritize when it comes to her leadership? Take our survey and tell us what issues feel most urgent to you.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

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More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • New members of the Los Angeles City Council also start their jobs today. Nearly half of the council is new, which marks one of the biggest turnovers in city politics. LAist spoke to two of the new councilmembers, Eunisses Hernandez (CD1) and Hugo Soto-Martinez (CD13), who are part of the council’s growing progressive bloc. 
  • L.A. considers new law that would ban the useof certain tools used in rodeos, like electric prods and lassos, that could “torment” animals
  • We are still waiting on a verdict in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial in L.A.. Jurors went home Friday without issuing one. My colleague John Horn writes about the case and those who are not on trial — his enablers
  • We all felt the brunt of high gas prices this year but what exactly was to blame? Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed the finger at the state’s oil industry. The Los Angeles Times attempts to break that down
  • ICYMI: On Friday, the University of California and the unions that represent its teaching assistants and academic workers have agreed to seek an outside mediator to work out their differences. Some 48,000 UC academic workers went on strike before Thanksgiving over pay and other support. 
  • Despite efforts to crack down on wage theft in California vulnerable workers across the state have continued to be taken advantage of. According to CalMatters, in 2021 about 19,000 workers in the state filed unpaid wage claims totaling more than $330 million. Here are some of their stories
  • NASA’s Artemis I returned safely from the moon Sunday, with the hope that the U.S. can get astronauts back on the moon in the next few years. ICYMI: you can watch the spacecraft splash down
  • Looking for something to do this week in SoCal? We’ve got some ideas! On Tuesday, check out the documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am at the Academy Museum. Or listen to my colleague John Horn lead a conversation at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum about a different doc: Duchamp Comes to Pasadena. Or for a dose of comedy go to Noise Within for the Latina Christmas Special on Wednesday (and next Tuesday!). There is a lot of enjoyment to be had this week - check out the whole list right here.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

(more news headlines here)

Wait... One More Thing! The Top Three Tea-Sipping Trends...

L.A. City Councilmember Kevin de León wears a tan jacket and speaks into a microphone at an event in Redondo Beach.
L.A. City Councilmember Kevin de León speaks during a sunrise vigil organized by United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals at the Redondo Beach Pier on May 22, 2021.
(Patrick T. Fallon
/
AFP via Getty Images)

THREE — The Underdogs: Morocco Becomes the first African and first Arab Country To Reach the World Cup Semifinals 

On Saturday, Morocco soccer fans celebrated a historic win as their team became the first African and Arab country to make it to the World Cup semi-finals. Many of Morocco's players gave thanks to their parents after the Portugal game, but it was Sofiane Boufal’s celebratory dance with his mama that stole hearts and went viral on Twitter and Instagram this weekend.

TWO — Garcetti says farewell as the city ushers in a new LA mayor 

After serving as mayor for nearly a decade, Eric Garcetti officially passed the torch to newly sworn-in LA Mayor Karen Bass. His future is still unclear as he waits on confirmation of his ambassadorship to India. Over the course of his tenure, he has approved of new sports stadiums and boosted L.A.’s economy. But even with all of his city improvements and helping increase the minimum wage for the lowest-paid workers, Garcetti’s tenure was also mired in controversy and unsolved issues.

ONE — LA City Councilmember Kevin de León in hot water with L.A. after altercation on Friday 

The Los Angeles Police Department announced an investigation into an altercation between L.A. councilmember Kevin de León and activist Jason Reedy. On Friday, during a holiday gift giveaway event in Lincoln Heights, de León and Reedy were caught on video fighting. The video was posted on Twitter on Saturday by RootsAction. Both parties filed police reports, alleging the other was the aggressor. This comes after several protests over de León’s refusal to give up his council seat after being a part of a racist discussion that was recorded a year ago and leaked in early October. De León is the only one caught on tape that still holds his position.

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