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Mayoral candidates attend forum hosted by Los Angeles Latino Equity and Diversity Initiative

Some mayoral candidates attend forum focused on issues important to LA's Latino community
Some mayoral candidates attend forum focused on issues important to LA's Latino community 03:12

The race for mayor of Los Angeles was focused on the Latino vote Monday night, as four candidates appeared at a forum held by the Los Angeles Latino Equity and Diversity Initiative. 

Candidates laid out their ideas for solving the numerous problems plaguing the city, particularly those impacting the Latino community. 

"I'm very excited, we're on the countdown. We're out every day," said Congresswoman and mayoral candidate Karen Bass. "We have volunteers out, talking to voters. So, it's an exciting time." 

Bass was among several of the mayoral contenders who were hosted by the Los Angeles Latino Equity and Diversity Initiative, a forum designed to allow candidates to address the unique concerns of the Latino community. Bass' fellow frontrunner, billionaire developer Rick Caruso, was invited, but did  not attend.  

"I think that he needs to participate in these debates," Bass said when asked about Caruso's absence. "You can't just run a campaign where you don't interact with the voters. The voters need to see you, they need to understand what's going on, but I'm here talking about my campaign." 

With each passing day, candidates are pushing hard to connect with voters and the chunk of undecideds still out there. 

"The votes are coming in really, really slow," said city councilman and mayoral candidate Kevin de León. "That means for the City of LA a lot of folks are undecided, a lot of ballots are on people's kitchen tables right now. I think a lot of folks are going to start making their decision in the last two weeks." 

City Attorney and mayoral candidate Mike Feuer said he believes voters are ready to shake things up. 

"The only thing I know for sure is that voters throughout the city are eager to shake up the status quo and are eager for leadership that can both bring us together, but take action on the key issues - homelessness, public safety, economic recovery," he said. 

During Monday night's forum, the candidates promised to make LA's large and growing Latino population a priority in equity and representation. 

"Inequities are deep within the City of LA," De León said. "Although the City of LA is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the reality is that it's one of the most unequal cities in the nation." 

Bass said providing equity for voters is one of the reasons she's running for mayor. 

"One of the reasons why I'm running is because we need to have equity in our city in every aspect," she said. 

Feuer said he believes the mayor has the power to unlock opportunities in city government and inspire the same movement in the private sector as well. 

Mayoral candidate Mel Wilson said issues important to the Latino community should come from the top. 

"As a way to make it the policy of a mayor's office, looking at what you're paying people and if you're not paying people, and if you're not paying them enough, you need to make adjustments," he said. 

 Asked why Caruso decided not to attend Monday's forum, his campaign said he's already attended two debates and now wants to focus on meeting voters directly and discuss his plans to deal with homelessness, crime and corruption.

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