Los Angeles

In First State of the City Address, Mayor Karen Bass Declares LA Not ‘Where It Needs to Be'

Mayor Karen Bass will deliver the address from City Hall at 5:30 p.m. Watch in the player below.

Representative Karen Bass, a Democrat from California and chair of the Democratic Black Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mayor Karen Bass delivered her first State of the City Address Monday, saying, “I am 127 days into my administration, and I cannot declare that the state of our city is where it needs to be” – while also painting a picture of hope and “increased urgency” as the city grapples with major challenges such as homelessness and public safety.

“I am proud to report that together, we have brought change to the city of Los Angeles,” said Bass, standing in the Council Chambers of City Hall before council members and an array of city officials.

“We have increased urgency at City Hall. And we have a clarity of purpose, and have focused our work on the people's most pressing challenges. After years of frustration, tonight, we can see a clearer path to a new Los Angeles ... where the state of our city will be stronger, healthier, happier and safer.”

The mayor is required annually to publicly address the council on the state of the city before the release of the proposed city budget. Bass is expected to release her first budget proposal on Tuesday.

Acknowledging the challenges that lay ahead, Bass said, “The state of our city is really about the state of your neighborhood. It's about the state of your household. It's about your state of mind.”

“Do you look over your shoulder when walking after dark?” she said. “Do you feel pride in your local park? Do you have peace of mind because you can pay the rent?

“When the answer is yes, then we can say the state of our city is strong. That's the New L.A. that we're building together.”

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Not unexpectedly, homelessness – a major element of her campaign, in which she vowed to house 17,000 people in her first year – was a major theme of Bass' remarks.

She noted that, so far, her administration has brought about 1,000 Angelenos indoors through her Inside Safe Program, and that her proposed budget will aim to build on that.

“Tomorrow, I will release my first budget as mayor,” she said.

“Building on the success of Inside Safe, my budget includes a $250 million investment to scale Inside Safe citywide.

“Leaning into the new direction we're charting for L.A., my budget includes an unprecedented $1.3 billion investment to accelerate our momentum on homelessness. This is a record for the city of Los Angeles.”

Bass also declared her ``number one job as mayor “is to keep Angelenos safe” – but noted, “the unfortunate reality is that LAPD is down hundreds of officers.”

Bolstering the LAPD's ranks will also place high on her priorities, she said.

“This has been an ongoing trend here in L.A. and in cities across the country – and so I'm concerned that the department's recent release of information (of officers' photos and other information) will cause more officers to leave.

“My budget proposal calls for urgent action to hire hundreds of officers next year on the way to restoring the department to full strength,” she said.

“The situation we currently face means we could see the number of LAPD officers drop below 9,000 – and we have not seen numbers that low since 2002.”

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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