Point of View: Los Angeles Mayoral candidates and the power of wealth

Editor's note: This segment of Point of View aired prior to the news that Councilman Joe Buscaino dropped out of the LA Mayoral race.

There are several good and accomplished candidates in the race for Los Angeles mayor including U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles City Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Joe Buscaino, City Attorney Mike Feuer and billionaire developer Rick Caruso. We won’t endorse any of them because our policy is to not endorse.

This campaign, however, highlights a troubling tendency in politics – not just in LA, but all over the country – to demonize wealthy candidates. Political challengers do it, political action committees do it, and even some in the media do it.

Why? We have developed this mentality of disparaging the character of rich and successful people – inferring that they must have acquired their fortunes through questionable practices. Or, that working hard, taking risks and ultimately fulfilling the American dream is somehow distasteful.

Rick Caruso is a good example. Because he’s wealthy, some people want us to believe his wealth is actually a negative and they want to distract us from the elephant in the room, that Caruso’s success has allowed him to develop a unique set of business and managerial skills that could help Los Angeles.

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One writer wrote, "When you have a fortune… you can waltz into the campaign at the last minute and beat your message into the heads of voters."  

Sure, but why would we have a problem with someone spending their own money to get elected? Is it somehow more noble to beg donors for cash or curry favor with special interest groups to raise money?

By the way, in 2018, the City Council passed new rules allowing qualified candidates to receive $6 in public funds for every $1 they raise from city residents. Ten of the 12 mayoral candidates on the ballot have accepted matching funds from the city. Caruso has not. Is it better for us to have the city of Los Angeles take our taxpayer dollars and match campaign money 6 to 1?

Again, FOX 11 is not endorsing anybody. The message here is only that we should judge the candidates on their record of accomplishments, their character, their ideas and their potential, but we shouldn’t penalize someone simply because they’ve been successful.

I’m Bill Lamb… and that’s my Point of View.

What do you think about this? Call 310-584-2030 or email me at fox11pov@foxtv.com. I’m Bill Lamb, and that’s my Point of View.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.