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Caruso surges in LA mayoral polls, misses another forum

Caruso surges in LA mayoral poles, misses homelessness forum
Caruso surges in LA mayoral poles, misses homelessness forum 03:21

Mayoral candidate and billionaire developer Rick Caruso continues to surge in the polls after record-breaking spending from his personal fortune. 

"I'm focusing on working hard for the next two and a half weeks," he said. "I'm focused on what people really care about in this city — the crime problem, homeless problem and corruption in City Hall."

Caruso spent Friday night garnering endorsements from high-profile members of the Asian American community. However, he has drawn criticism from his opponents for buying ad time and avoiding debates, claiming he is afraid to answer tough questions. 

"Well I did two debates," said Caruso. "I'm happy to answer tough questions. I've answered everything that was put in front of me. I stand by my record." 

Caruso brushed off the "notion of buying the election" claiming that it was "an insult to the residents of Los Angeles."

"The residents of Los Angeles are smart people who will make their own decisions and can't be bought," he said. 

Caruso was invited to a forum hosted by KCRW Friday night but did not attend. However, his opponents, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Councilman Kevin de León and Community Activist Gina Viola, all of whom are polling in the top five. The candidates discussed the homeless crisis in L.A. 

"We bring them in and then put them back out on the street," said Bass. "We have to build the facilities. This is the problem that goes back to Reagan when we deinstitutionalized facilities. We didn't build the community-based institutions we committed to."

De León continued to push the tiny home projects, which have been a cornerstone of his campaign. The councilman lobbied for the nation's largest tiny home village in Highland Park. 

"A tiny home is a hell of a lot better than a ten, a cold slab of cement or asphalt," he said. 

"We need to bring unhoused people in to hear what their experiences are like in those sheds," added Viola.

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