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Businessman Ramit Varma enters LA mayoral race

Not all mayoral candidates host a kick-off event at a Major League Soccer stadium.

But that was the case on Wednesday night when Ramit Varma, an Encino entrepreneur, praised the Banc of California Stadium to announce his entry into the crowded field of candidates hoping to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Addressing a crowd of around 400, Varma pledged to end homelessness, reduce government waste and “build a city of the future – now”.

“We are losing the very things that made Los Angeles Los Angeles,” said Varma, 46, adding that the dream of being able to live in LA is increasingly out of reach.

Varma blamed the ‘political machine’ at City Hall and criticized the lack of housing built so far under the HHH Proposal, the $ 1.2 billion bond measure adopted by voters in 2016 name of being “awake”.

“You can choose more of the same,” Varma said. “Or you can choose to restart LA”

Ramit Varma, center, with Andrew Gross, left, Kim Brothers and Siera Butler at Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Varma, co-founder of online tutoring company Revolution Prep, has pledged to spend at least $ 1 million of his own money on his campaign.

Varma, who is of Indian descent, joins a group that includes LA city councilors Joe Buscaino and Kevin de León, representative Karen Bass, City Atty. Mike Feuer, CEO Jessica Lall and real estate agent Mel Wilson.

Developer Rick Caruso is also considering joining the domain. A representative for Caruso told The Times on Wednesday that Caruso was working with Bearstar Strategies – which has campaigned for politicians such as former Gov. Jerry Brown and Vice President Kamala Harris – as he weighed a race.

“Although a final decision has not been made, Rick is seriously considering running for mayor and as part of that reflection he has worked with many people, including Bearstar Strategies, to analyze the situation and determine the best way to help resolve mounting LA. problems, ”a representative said.

Caruso choosing to run would dramatically change the run. For now, Varma and nominees Lall and Wilson are all touting their business background.

Many in the crowd on Wednesday had worked with Varma or were longtime friends. Some had come from the Bay Area.

Marc Merrill, co-founder of video game developer Riot Games, urged the crowd to support Varma as he spoke about the city’s poverty. “It breaks our hearts to look around and see what’s going on,” said Merrill, one of the many who spoke at the campaign launch.

Marjorie Gayle came from her home to View Park with a friend. “I’m trying to find out what each other’s vision is,” Gayle said, inspecting the participants’ room while sipping cocktails and eating lobster rolls.

The lack of affordable housing in the city is her biggest concern, she said, adding: “I really want to hear all points of view.”

Times writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.

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