Letters to the Editor: Karen Bass knows ‘defund the police’ is a fringe idea. Her leftist critics don’t

 A woman in a blue pantsuit addresses people in a park. One person in the crowd is holding up a 'Karen Bass for mayor' sign.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) addresses constituents and volunteers for her mayoral campaign in Pan Pacific Park on Feb. 12.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Democrat Karen Bass is my representative in Congress. I voted for her in 2020 and would enthusiastically do so again. However, being mayor of Los Angeles requires different skills, and I have not decided on the mayoral race yet.

The Times’ article on her failure to attract full support from “the left” quotes Melina Abdullah and Patrisse Cullors (described as longtime leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement) as decrying Bass’ “pandering to affluent white Westside and Valley voters at the expense of Black, Latinx and working-class ones.”

As one of those white, Westside liberals, I have to chortle at their arrogance and presumptuousness.


Polls that I have seen in the past few years show, first, very little support among Black voters for the idea of “defunding” the police if that means eliminating the police or even cutting back on the crimes to which officers respond; and second, that the term “Latinx” is seldom used among Latinos.

I could be wrong, but I am not buying that Cullors and Abdullah speak for a significant portion of the electorate.

Andrew E. Rubin, Los Angeles


To the editor: After the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer in 2020 as well as other civil rights violations and acts of violence committed by police against Black people, I too felt that we should defund the police.

I was wrong. I now agree with Bass that we should not defund the police. We should, in fact, hire more cops.

My Citizen app beeps all day about crime in my South Los Angeles neighborhood. For those advocating for defunding the police, I often wonder where they live. Who do they suggest we call instead of the police? The local gang leaders?


Bass is being realistic about crime and policing, and she should be Los Angeles’ next mayor.

Rosilyn Clayton, Los Angeles


To the editor: As a lifelong Democrat, I’m glad to hear that the “progressive critics” who have denounced Bass’ sensible approaches to the homelessness crisis have not damaged her campaign for mayor.

Clearly, some homeless encampments present high risk to outreach workers. Absent the police protection Bass proposes, it would be only a matter of time before an outreach worker was attacked, maimed or killed.

Bass should stand strong and ask, “Why would we deny our city outreach workers protection when they are working for the benefit of all of us, housed and unhoused?”

Critics of the sort mentioned in the article should read the Jan. 28 piece by The Times’ David Lauter, “Progressives mislead themselves about popularity of their plans.” Just as this phenomenon plays out on a national level, it plays out in much the same way locally.


If these critics force Bass or any other candidate to adopt their policies, they might wake up the day after the election to find the new mayor is someone whose policies are even farther from the “progressive” positions they want their candidates to embrace.

Michael Krumme, Los Angeles