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Bass and Caruso in final for votes in Los Angeles mayoral race

Los Angeles mayoral candidates toured neighborhoods from Boyle Heights to Mar Vista to Woodland Hills over the weekend, pushing for votes ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.

Rep. Karen Bass, who was joined by former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, rode atop a double-decker Starline Tour bus criss-crossing LA on Sunday. Dressed in a red linen suit, Bass danced gleefully to the 1979 disco hit “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”

A man stuck his head out his car window to shout, “You got my vote, baby!

The Bass campaign was buoyed by a poll released on Sunday showing her with the support of 38% of likely voters. His closest rival, developer Rick Caruso, holds 32%, according to the UC Berkeley Institute for Government Studies poll, co-sponsored by The Times. Councilman Kevin de León trailed with 6%.

Standing outside an Armenian grocery store in North Hollywood on Sunday, De León told reporters his focus was not on polls, but on Election Day turnout. The councilman, who wore cowboy boots, a white button-up shirt and jeans, also said he didn’t have tens of millions of dollars “to bombard the media with false promises.”

The blow was directed at Caruso, whose spending dominated election coverage. Its ubiquitous advertising tells voters “Caruso Can” – the developer’s promise to solve homelessness, city hall corruption and dirty streets.

Mayoral candidate Rick Caruso campaigns at a Saturday car show in Woodland Hills.

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday’s primary marks the first open mayoral election in nearly a decade. Mayor Eric Garcetti faces term limits and is due to step down in December, although he could leave sooner if confirmed by the Senate as US ambassador to India.

Voter turnout has been low, with campaign research firm Political Data Inc. reporting on Friday that only 10% of ballots sent to city residents were returned. PDI Vice President Paul Mitchell said he expects a turnout of around 25% in the city.

“When turnout is this low with less than a week to go, you can’t imagine there’s going to be a mad rush,” Mitchell said last week.

Activist Gina Viola, a mayoral candidate backed by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles leaders who votes at 2%, said she was not worried about turnout. “I feel like we normally vote on the last day,” Viola said of Los Angeles residents.

Viola and her supporters gathered outside a house on Laurel Avenue in Beverly Grove on Sunday to speak to voters heading to the nearby WeHo Pride parade. A large orange banner with Viola’s name hung from a shrub, and a table held red vines, packets of Doritos and buttons and T-shirts for voters.

Pedestrian traffic was slow though. Among those who passed was Darrell Wells, 27, from Hollywood, who stopped to pose for pictures with Viola. “I saw her on social media,” Wells said.

Viola, dressed in a pink t-shirt and jeans, said she had exchanged a few friendly texts with Bass in recent weeks – a sign that the race is not all bad talk.

Yet Caruso became a target because of his buying power. He did not hold any media events on Sunday, although his campaign spokesman, Peter Ragone, said Caruso had spent time calling organizations that had supported him, asking them to step up efforts to electoral turnout. A day earlier, the candidate had driven to a car show in Woodland Hills sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division.

As he navigated between vintage Ford Mustangs, the developer looked confident and relaxed. “What a great way to spend a Saturday,” said Caruso, who wore dress shoes and a tailored dark suit.

Caruso was endorsed earlier this year by the union that represents rank and file police officers. The California Coalition of Law Enforcement Assns., the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and the Los Angeles School Police Officers Association. added their mentions for him on Friday.

Several police officers – who declined to speak to the press at the event because they were in uniform – warmly greeted Caruso as he walked through the park, thanking him or saying they appreciated his support.

Watching the small crowd from the stage, Caruso declared his love for the San Fernando Valley before turning to the police.

“I love the LAPD and everything the LAPD does, so thank goodness for the LAPD,” ​​Caruso continued. “And I love cars.”

Caruso urged supporters to make sure friends and family vote, citing the relatively low number of ballots returned so far. One supporter looked surprised, telling Caruso that given all that was wrong with the city, you’d think people would at least come out to vote.

“I know,” Caruso replied. “I think part of it is a lot of people are so frustrated that nothing happened, so maybe their vote doesn’t count.”

Speaking to reporters later, Caruso said: “People are really worried and fed up with the current situation in the city. That’s what I hear often. »

Media consultant Helen Sanchez, who does not represent any candidates, offered a similar assessment. She said in an interview last week that she hears the message that people want change.

“People are angrier this time than they’ve been [in past elections.] They’re really mad at homelessness,” Sanchez said.

Earlier Saturday, Bass took to the stage in South Los Angeles and told the crowd of volunteers and supporters that they would help push her campaign to the top.

“These commercials, I can’t live without,” she said of Caruso’s publicity barrage.

“I take my phone. I go to YouTube. I turn on the TV. I feel like there’s a stalker. I don’t know how to get rid of it. Well, Tuesday we can do it, because it’s not the strength of the dollar. This is the power of the people,” the MP said.

Bass spoke outside his campaign headquarters, where Mike Bear was one of many volunteers who instructed canvassers on how to use the app that would tell them which doors to knock on.

Bear, a retired teacher, also had members of the role play group. “If you get stuck, go back to what it means to you to vote for Bass,” Bear advised.

Bass and Caruso in final for votes in Los Angeles mayoral race

Kevin de Leon, center, laughs with Olive Fresh Garden Marketplace owner Sedrak Shishikyan, right, in North Hollywood.

(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

De León attended a swap meet from Los Angeles City College in East Hollywood on Saturday, his rescue dog Whiskey in tow. As the politician addressed a television news crew, an assistant deftly brushed dog hair off the back of the candidate’s shirt with a lint roller while ducking out of frame from the cameraman.

Many shoppers greeted the councilman in Spanish and rushed in for selfies and enthusiastic questions, while others wondered aloud what was going on.

De León was also blocked for votes Sunday in North Hollywood. He strolled through the Olive Fresh Garden Marketplace, a store run by three Armenian-American brothers, and shook hands with the workers. One of the brothers, Asatur Shishikyan, 57, said the candidate had his vote.

The city councilor visited around 20 locations over the weekend. In a lighthearted moment, De León told reporters that “only one” person had yelled at him – during his visit to Northridge.

“They said they wanted the city of LA to be one giant grove,” De León said, referring to the Caruso mall in the Fairfax neighborhood. “I disagree. I don’t think we should be a giant mall.

Los Angeles Times

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