Billionaire developer Caruso enters Los Angeles mayor’s race

Shifting toward the center: LA’s mayoral race has so far been dominated by policy proposals featuring more conservative approaches to public safety and homelessness, even as progressives like Bass and de León lead the field.

Bass recently called for the Los Angeles Police Department to hire 200 new officers, drawing criticism from police reform groups that argue officer salaries take funding away from social services. De León’s efforts to reduce the number of homeless encampments in his district has put him in conflict with the city’s homeless advocates.

Those moves come as polls show California voters are pessimistic about the state’s direction and are concerned about homelessness and crime. A Public Policy Institute of California poll released this month found that two-thirds of likely voters say violence and crime are problems in their communities, while homelessness ranked just behind Covid-19 as their top issue.

Caruso has set himself up as a moderate alternative in the race, calling himself a “pro-centrist, pro-jobs, pro-public safety democrat,” when he announced his change in party affiliation.

What’s next: Political observers will be watching to see how aggressively Caruso spends on campaign advertising and whether a candidate like Bass, who has dozens of endorsements from established Democratic Party figures, can keep up.

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