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Mayor Bass’ State of the City Speech as Delivered

LOS ANGELES – Tonight, Mayor Bass delivered her second State of the City Speech. Watch the speech here. 

The following is the text of the address as delivered: 

Thank you everyone for being here today… Madam City Attorney, Mr. City Controller…. Thank you. And Madam Chair of the County Board of Supervisors, for that introduction. How was that introduction, huh? 

Thank you. Thank you so much. I have to say it is exciting to think about just how far the relationship between the City and the County has come in just one short year… 

We’ve put aside the finger pointing… and instead we’ve gotten to work – because that’s what the people of Los Angeles deserve.

President Krekorian – thank you for welcoming us into these Chambers.

For decades, you have served with distinction and with a deep dedication.

It was an honor for me to serve with you in Sacramento and it has been an honor for me to serve with you here. You took the helm in a challenging time in our city and navigated the Council back to order and calm that has allowed the work of the City to move forward. And let me just say, that’s an understatement.

While this is your last State of the City speech as a member of the council, we know that your legacy in this chamber will continue long after you have left it.

So on behalf of the City of Los Angeles, its residents, and from me, personally – thank you Mr. President. Please stand.

We have much respect for you and let me just say, Los Angeles, we have a long way to go… 

But let me say here right at the beginning – the state of our City is stronger today because we have made change and we have disrupted the status quo…

Over the last year, we have done big things together – 

Thousands more unhoused Angelenos came inside and homicides and violent crime came down last year… 

We weathered Tropical Storm Hilary — and we rebuilt the 10 Freeway in 10 days…. 

Supervisor Mitchell, she agrees with that. And most importantly, we are turning away from the status quo – we are looking forward and making change – and we have changed how Los Angeles works so the City works better for the people of Los Angeles and we’re just getting started!

Last month, our city delegation was in Paris to see the lead to the summer 2024 Olympic Games in Paris – because in just four short years, we will host the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games right here – millions of people, just think about this, millions of people from more than 200 countries, speaking hundreds of languages, will come for one of the largest gatherings in the world – so imagine this, it will be like hosting seven Super Bowls a day, for seventeen straight days. Can you imagine that?! That’s a little overwhelming to think about…. 

And we can’t forget the World Cup is coming to Inglewood and L.A. in just 2 years – in 2026…  

But the time will fly by quickly, and the question for us is, “Will we be ready?” Will Los Angeles be ready?

I say the answer is, yes! Los Angeles will be ready! We will be ready for the world!

And we all know that the Games are a massive endeavor – transportation, security, business, housing, sustainability and so much more. 

But we have to zoom out for a minute and realize that the Olympics are about opportunity…. and that opportunity begins now…

The Games will mean more than 5 million visitors pumping billions of dollars into our economy – staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, visiting our museums, and exploring our neighborhoods.

Now my administration will create a focused initiative to make sure that the Games will mean hundreds of small businesses winning contracts and hiring Angelenos. 

That’s right, hiring Angelenos and new businesses! But the lasting, 21st Century impact of these games are the billions of media impressions, streaming minutes, and clicks… And those will cause billions of new and lasting opinions about L.A. — opinions that will either reflect a land of opportunity and beauty where people should visit and invest — or a city that at best is just getting by on its past glory. 

So what is the city that we will showcase to the world?

It’s the new Los Angeles that we’re building together.

I want the world to see all levels of government joining forces, locking arms and actually working together. 

Now sadly, over the years L.A. has become known for dysfunction. Dysfunction within City Hall, and dysfunction between the City and the County.

But we are turning the page because the City, County, State, and Federal – instead of casting blame, we are working together to actually solve problems – we are working for the people.

We want the world to see that Los Angeles is now number two transit city in the country – because riders are seeing that we are changing Metro's approach to safety, cleanliness and customer service.

We are increasing service and leading the nation in building out our network …

This past year Metro accomplished what commuters have dreamed of for years – a regional connector in the heart of our city that links every corner of our region, and bursting with the promise of what’s possible as we expand public transportation in Los Angeles…

In South L.A., East L.A., in the Valley, and in Mid-Wilshire, we see Angelenos working hard and earning good wages while creating infrastructure that will last generations – infrastructure that will help Angelenos close the gap between an affordable neighborhood and a good job, getting to work on time, and breathing cleaner air….

Our Metro work is eliminating pollution and addressing climate change….We are doing the same at LAX, with the coming transit connection there, and by eliminating plastics.

And we are seeing a cleaner and greener America’s Port – the Port of Los Angeles, where just last month I was joined by the EPA Administrator to announce new federal investments in zero-emissions equipment and infrastructure and other initiatives to address climate change and public health…

I’m proud to continue Los Angeles’ global leadership on climate change… 

And to advance our work, I’m announcing a new climate cabinet, new climate plans at key city departments, stakeholder engagement, and action on climate justice to make sure that our city continues to lead — and that includes making sure that Los Angeles is 100% clean energy by 2035! 

Last year, I told you Los Angeles was open for business — this year, we can say that businesses are coming back.

In December I joined Councilwoman Park in her district to announce that the Banc of California – the third largest bank in the state – is moving its headquarters to the Westside from Orange County… Now along with jobs and investment – they brought a $1 million check to support our program to help small and medium-sized businesses win government contracts…

For too long, Los Angeles City Hall has not effectively supported businesses and jobs. My Administration is making sure that City Hall is a partner in economic success…

That’s why when the Al Fresco outdoor dining, you all remember that, was facing elimination, we acted to make it permanent – it’s a new, streamlined model. It’s a streamline model for how the city should facilitate business growth.

And we’re continuing to see the benefits of my Executive Directive to make businesses boom: 

Doubling permit help for business owners 

Accelerating our restaurant and small business express program

A new walk-in counter in Van Nuys for street vendors; and 

Same-day sanitation inspection times……. 

Council has been a key partner in this progress and we will continue to act for businesses, especially Downtown, on exciting new initiatives like the potential modernization of the Convention Center – to attract tourists and business travelers; we want them to fill our restaurants, our arenas and to support jobs in Downtown and beyond for decades to come. 

My top priority, of course, is the health, well-being and safety and the lives of the 4 million Angelenos who live in our city – and of course that includes our first responders who keep us safe… 

As the Council President mentioned, just this morning we were tragically reminded of the sacred debt we owe to our first responders.

Earlier this morning, I met with the family of Jacob Fuerte, the fire recruit who passed away… His father is an active-duty firefighter... 

My heart goes out to the family during this difficult time… and I’ve ordered city flags to be flown at half-staff in Jacob’s honor. And today I thank all first responders. I thank our Chief of Police Choi, and our Fire Chief Kristin Crowley. Thank you so much for your service. And Freddy Escobar who leads the workers.

We see the skill and innovation of our fire department every day – whether it’s breaking new ground on response vehicles, or their incredible response to the historic storms and the 10 Freeway inferno… Whatever comes our way, I know that they’ll be ready… 

Supporting our sworn personnel is deeply important to me. And the status quo can simply not protect Angelenos…. So we’re acting to change it…

Amidst a national and local police hiring and retention crisis, together with the Council, we forged a new contract specifically designed to reduce the downward trend in officers…. 

As a result, we’re attracting record numbers of applicants to the police academy – and my budget for next year maintains our LAPD staffing goals… 

We are sending a signal to our current officers and our community partners that we support them – that public safety is a priority for this administration. 

And part of supporting them and the communities we all serve is to expand our approach to public safety in Los Angeles – with our Mayor’s Office of Community Safety, that focuses on preventing crime and interrupting the cycles of violence…

To accomplish this, we have strengthened our gang prevention and community violence intervention programs and Summer Night Lights… And we’ve expanded the CIRCLE mental health response program to move neighborhoods throughout the city… And we must recognize the many factors that go into community safety – for example, street lights – Councilman De Leon is leading the effort to stop copper wire theft… Councilwoman Padilla has a solution – installing solar street lights so that we don’t have to worry about the copper theft… 

We have focused on change and strategic investments – and as a result, violent crime and homicides were down in 2023….

But we all know that these cycles can reverse – so the search for the next LAPD chief is critical. And this isn’t a closed-door conversation… I’ve been meeting with officers, business organizations, community leaders, community members to ask them directly what they want to see in the next chief….

My number one job, period, is to keep Angelenos safe – and that’s what we will do, and that’s what we will do together.

Now a key to public safety and public health is how we approach the tragedy of 46,000 unhoused Angelenos. 

Now I refuse to hide the fact that it’s 46,000 people…

Now we will not hide people, but what we will do is house people.

For too long, Angelenos have been failed by quick fixes and unhoused people just being shuffled around. Angelenos deserve real solutions, and that means a Sea Change in the way L.A. approaches homelessness.

This means committing to the goal of preventing and ending homelessness — not hiding —  not managing — but ending homelessness — we will end homelessness with a new strategy and a new system that urgently lifts people from the street, and that surrounds them with the support and housing that they need to never go back to the streets.

We have disrupted the status quo on Day One of my administration by declaring a State of Emergency – because the crisis on our streets is nothing less than a disaster  and I want to thank City Attorney Hydee Feldstein-Soto for helping us navigate our way, path forward… 

And when a disaster strikes, the initial phase is to rescue people – and Inside Safe has been rescuing Angelenos from the streets and offering immediate stability and shelter.

Inside Safe is our proactive rejection of a status quo that left unhoused Angelenos to wait – and die – outside, in encampments until permanent housing was built. 

We have joined forces, working with every Councilmemberour county partners and our partners at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority led by Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum together with the board of Supervisors and the City Council we have housed Angelenos in 47 different neighborhoods.

As a result, the sidewalk around Larchmont School on Selma is open again for families to walk to school  — and the sidewalk no longer serves as someone’s home, because of our work with Councilman Soto-Martinez…

We worked with Councilwoman Hutt and Councilwoman Yaroslavsky to house people sleeping in the RFK park in Koreatown and Poinsettia Park in Fairfax….

We’ve moved Angelenos living around grocery stores in South Los Angeles into interim housing with Council President Pro Tem Harris-Dawson and there are no longer 50 people living around the Chatsworth Metro Stop thanks to work done with Councilman Lee ...

We’re moving Angelenos inside who were living under the 210 Freeway in Shadow Hills and above the 110 Freeway in South Central thanks to our work with Councilwoman Rodriguez and Councilmember Price … 

I want you to think about this for a minute… Think of the toll on parents, the siblings and the friends of the unhoused – who each night go to sleep dreading that phone call from the hospital or from the morgue.

We all know that inside is always healthier than outside… And let me ask – if you’re now living inside because of Inside Safe, if you’re one of the providers taking care of Angelenos inside and if your neighborhood or businesses has improved because of Inside Safe, please stand.

Now the rescue phase of an emergency is always expensive – there is no way around it – motel rooms rented by the night are expensive…

But it is far, far more expensive to leave people unhoused on our streets.

Beyond the human toll, we all pay the cost of the thousands and thousands of fire, paramedic and police calls…

The cost of each overdose, of each emergency room visit, of each night in county jail – each of which is a human tragedy.

The cost to shops and restaurants whose customers stay away out of fear.

The cost when tourists don’t come to visit.

The cost when offices and their employees leave downtown.

I just will not accept this – and our city can’t afford to accept it. That is why we are disrupting, challenging and rebuilding a system. 

Inside Safe and our overall approach is evolving and it’ll continue to evolve.

After the rescue phase, comes the recovery phase – lessons learned during the rescue phase can be applied, and we can think and plan for the longer term….

The emergency doesn’t end, it just enters a different phase…

So right now, we are working to move past nightly room rentals including by master leasing and purchasing motels and hotels, and already built permanent housing… 

Now we are asking the most fortunate Angelenos to participate in this effort, with personal, private sector and philanthropic funds – to help us acquire more properties, lower the cost of capital and speed up housing… 

This is the mission of our new capital campaign: LA4LA. 

We have brought the public sector together – and now we must prevail on the humanity and generosity of the private sector … 

LA4LA can be a Sea Change for Los Angeles – an unprecedented partnership to confront this emergency… an example of disrupting the status quo to build a new system to save lives… 

We are also improving the delivery of services that people need to permanently stay off the streets – addressing mental health, addiction and chronic disease…

That’s why we have ushered in another big change appointing a medical doctor and public health practitioner, the City’s first-ever Deputy Mayor for Homelessness and Community Health, Dr. Agonafer.  

We are standing up to the city’s capacity to address RVs and not just tents. Finally. For years, there was simply no city system – towing, storage, and safe parking – to address this part of the crisis. So the crisis grew and grew.

And this is a prime example of the status quo that we are leaving behind. 

Much more needs to be done – and just last week, we worked with Councilman McOsker in an operation in Wilmington that removed 30 Angelenos inside and got RVs off the street…  Before that, we partnered with Councilwoman Raman to get RVs along Forest Lawn Drive, 50s RVs off the street and the individuals housed. 

Getting Angelenos off the street and interim housing is our new strategy and from there, we need permanent housing – and my Executive Directive 1 has cut the city process from 6 months to 35 days.

This has resulted in more than 16,000 additional, new affordable housing units in the pipeline. 

We must also prevent people from falling into homelessness! Now I will not ignore this critical element. 

But I have to tell you, that no city in America that I know of has a comprehensive strategy to prevent homelessness. So through the Mayor’s Fund For Los Angeles, we have not only provided emergency assistance for over 32,000 Angelenos at risk of losing their homes, but along with the new tenant protections enacted by Councilwe are creating a prevention model for Los Angeles, and beyond.

All together, our efforts made it so we brought in a record number of Angelenos inside last year – thousands more than the year before and we will continue with urgency… 

It’s no secret, we’re entering a tough budget year.

It’s not just us though – other cities are confronting rising costs and lower revenues, and Sacramento is anticipating major cuts.

Here in Los Angeles, I will propose my budget for the next fiscal year. 

It breaks away from the budgeting of the past – starting by eliminating long standing vacant positions. 

For years, the city has funded thousands of vacant positions. And last year, I called on Angelenos to come to work for the city, remember that? “I said everybody come work for the city!” Oops. No. Actually, I have to tell you, 3500 Angelenos answered that call!! 

3,500 new workers we have welcomed to the city Family and we’ve seen the difference – 100,000 more calls to 311 were answered…. 

With all of that we can’t forget our animals – We’ve brought in a new leader of the department, we’ve nearly doubled the number of volunteers, we’re extending hours into the evening, and earlier today, I was proud to sign Councilmember Hernandez’s moratorium on dog breeding permits in Los Angeles. Thank you for your leadership…

Now – vacant positions do not fill potholes, sweep streets or staff parks. And too many of these vacant positions have been there for years and years because of flawed budgeting that does not reflect how departments should actually operate.

So this year, we will eliminate these ghost positions, while we preserve core services — Now we will continue to hire, but we will hire strategically based on real life …. 

We can make real change with good policy and good, smart policy… But carrying thousands of vacant positions on the books simply because they were there the year before? I want to end that.

Looking ahead, we will use the elimination of these vacancies to set the stage for future budgets to be based on actual service delivery…  

To determine this, I am directing my office to conduct a comprehensive analysis of all City departments. We will begin preparing for next year’s budget immediately after this year’s budget is signed – so we can take advantage of these tough times to determine how departments can function in a more efficient and effective manner…. And I know that under the steadfast leadership of our Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield, we can get this done. 

This will result in better services for Angelenos – in the good years, and in the tough years that we expect to experience in the near future.

My goal is to change the way L.A. budgets so that it is honest, transparent, and squarely focused on doing a better job for Angelenos.

Now we all know that over the years Los Angeles has become less and less affordable for working people. City workers are no different, and I want to thank Controller Mejia because he brought to our attention that 2/3 of city employees can’t even live in Los Angeles because it’s not affordable. And I know that the people behind me and everyone in these Chambers — supports working people, all working people regardless of their occupation…  

We want to attract and retain committed, driven, skilled and career-oriented employees…. And I’m aware of City Workers. I have heard of city workers who help us bring homeless people inside who they themselves are on the verge of being on the streets.

If we want to house people, if we want to keep our city safe, if we want to fix our streets, we must pay our workers fairly…

This is the path forward…. Putting skilled and long-term city workers over empty desk… 

And using this year as a reset for our budget – so that our budgets moving forward rest on a foundation of reality.

Locking arms doesn’t mean we always agree… 

But how we handle differences and conflicts is key.

Are we focused on outcomes?

Are we focused on the people’s business?

Are we addressing differences in person or are we gonna resort to Twitter Wars? I know that we are better than that. 

Look at the dysfunction in Washington. I know that. 

Look at City Hall in the past.

Our work is about leaving that old way in the dust.

No more running away from our problems.

No more papering over our problems – we are focused on solving problems and making progress.

Now everyone on a personal note….

Three weeks ago, I welcomed my third grandchild – his name is Oliver .... And actually many members of my family are here, so will you please stand up, members of the family. That’s Oliver's mother right there. Oliver’s actually in my office.

And while I’ve spoken tonight about the 4 million Angelenos I work for every day, a huge part of my heart is with him and my other grandchildren right now.

And I know City Hall can do big, bold things for L.A… For today, and for the future that my grandchildren will inherit.

Thousands more people moved inside… We’ve lowered crime.

Think about it – we’ve weathered a tropical storm and an earthquake on the same day! 

I just won’t ever accept that we have to settle for the way things have always been… 

And if we keep challenging the status quo – through the budget and across the board – we will make sure that Los Angeles is a City that puts the people’s business first…. that puts results first… and builds a new Los Angeles that we can all, all be proud of…

Thank you, Los Angeles. Thank you.