OPINION: Here is another in a long line of Black “firsts” as she becomes the first woman — and only the second Black person — to be mayor of the City of Angels.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Real estate developer Rick Caruso spent more than $100 million of his own money attempting to buy a mayoral election in the second-largest city in the United States of America.
I start with that because it is an important note in a democracy that is quite swiftly eroding into a contest of who can spend the most money to win political power. And let’s be clear: It is all about power.
Unfortunately for Caruso, and extremely fortunately for Los Angelenos, his money was wasted, as former U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass — who represented the state’s 37th Congressional District in Los Angeles County — was declared the winner Wednesday evening with 53.1% of the votes in her favor.
According to the L.A. Times, Bass was outspent by her opponent 11 to 1, but the people in my city voted for her anyway.
To be clear, it is my opinion that Caruso only wanted the position of mayor to further his own personal interests. He claims to want to solve the city’s homelessness problem — which is entirely out of control, at this point — but it was all smoke and mirrors if you ask me, because as the Los Angeles Times aptly pointed out, his plan was full of easily identifiable holes, and Bass’ plan is “more achievable” than the snake oil job Caruso was selling.
But enough about the billionaire white man who didn’t win. Let’s talk about the Black woman who did.
Bass was born and raised in Los Angeles. She resides in Baldwin Hills, also known as the Black Beverly Hills. In other words, she is “real L.A.”
Her history in community activism and grassroots efforts to better the city are well-documented. She represented Californians first as a state assemblywoman and then as a six-term congresswoman.
Let me pause for a moment to say my all-time favorite Karen Bass moment as a congresswoman was the time she completely dismantled KKK Howdy Doody, aka former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during a House Judiciary Committee when she questioned him about an FBI report titled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers.” Our auntie literally ATE, and I loved that for her, Jeff Sessions and all of us, because I am looking forward to her bringing that same energy to Los Angeles politics.
No, seriously. Watch this:
Bass is the first woman and only the second Black person to be elected as mayor in Los Angeles. She comes into a city government that is now notorious for its corruption and recently weathered a huge scandal in which a leaked recording revealed several members of the City Council making racist remarks about Black people and others.
The job ahead of her is not an easy one, but I am fully confident that she will be able to handle it because let’s face it, if you want something done, you really just have to get a Black woman to do it.
She, of course, has detractors and those who think she is not right for the position. They can go cry in their cereal, however, because the job is hers, and no amount of whining about it or trolling on social media is going to change that (so y’all can get your goofy asses out of my Twitter mentions and Facebook/IG comments, because I said WTF I said).
The road to putting Los Angeles back on track is a long and bumpy one, but Bass has the political experience to navigate it with intelligence and a mind for the people she serves. She’s been in these streets. She knows the people. She’s not new to this; she’s true to this.
I fully support my new mayor and will be watching and waiting to see what she does to make L.A. great again.
Congratulations, Karen Bass. You Deserve.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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