LA mayor's race: Ethics, crime among issues discussed during contentious Bass-Caruso debate

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Friday, September 23, 2022
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The two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles agree that the city is in crisis, but during a debate they shared their different approaches to addressing homelessness and crime as they head to Election Day.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Rep. Karen Bass says she doesn't believe that her opponent in the Los Angeles mayoral race, developer Rick Caruso, is actually a Democrat. But at Wednesday night's debate, Bass did acknowledge that Caruso isn't Donald Trump -- a contrast that's been drawn during the campaign.

"I like the Democratic Party 10 years ago and I like the Democratic Party of today," Bass said. "Because the Democratic Party of today is more diverse, more diverse politically in every single way."

Caruso responded: "Doesn't seem to be accepting me."

Caruso has repeatedly said he supports a women's right to choose and although he gave money in the past to Republican candidates who don't, the businessman Caruso said that Bass has done the same.

"Karen has supported a congressman in Georgia anti-abortion, supported the Hyde amendment with Obama healthcare that prevented federal funds to be used supported Scientology. Lays praise on Scientology. If the same standard exists, then we should both be held to the same standard. Not because we donated to one person," said Caruso.

One major point of disagreement during the debate: Caruso's role on USC's board of trustees during the gynecology scandal involving Dr. George Tyndall, and the scholarship Karen Bass received from USC's School of Social Work.

On Thursday, Caruso accused Bass of not telling the truth.

"The federal prosecutors said she was given that scholarship without an application and she also said she was given it because of merit -- and that's a lie," Caruso said. "The federal prosecutors in the corruption case said she got it because she was a powerful member of Congress."

During a virtual event Thursday with Gloria Allred, who endorsed Bass, the two said Bass is the best candidate in the race for women.

"I can't trust Rick Caruso because his record speaks louder than his words," said Allred.

But one issue that just won't go away -- and many, including Bass, think it should: the burglary at the congresswoman's house where two guns were stolen, two people arrested.

"My home was burglarized," Bass said. "I called the police and later they arrested two suspects, and the storage and registration were 100% legal. I think this is an act of desperation, Rick. Calling for me, a letter went out today by a member of the City Council calling for me to be investigated because of the theft that happened at my house."

On Thursday, Caruso told Eyewitness News that he believes Bass is hiding something.

"Why doesn't she tell us what kind of guns they were? We got two more guns on the street now," Caruso said. "We have the highest level of gun violence. Why doesn't she show us the box that they were kept in? She said it was pursuant to L.A. city law. Well, prove it. You're running for mayor."