At a Thursday debate hosted by KNX News, Rep. Karen Bass mocked businessman Rick Caruso for touting the endorsement of something called the Avance Democratic Club.
“How much did you pay for it?” she asked.
“Avance Democratic Club, which focuses on building Latino political power, was started after the election of Mayor Eric Garcetti by several Garcetti aides, including his onetime chief of staff, Ana Guerrero,” explains the Los Angeles Times.
Caruso acted all indignant about Bass’ question. “Are you insulting Avance?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Bass replied.
Caruso later held a press event with Avance saying this was insulting to the “Latino community.” Bass issued the obligatory apology.
Avance doesn’t represent the “Latino community.” I guarantee 99.9% of Latinos in Los Angeles have never heard of Avance. And nothing I’ve seen indicates anyone should. Any group founded by “several Garcetti aides” is bound to be a meritless dumpster fire.
Obviously, Caruso did the politically smart thing in exaggerating their importance and acting all mad about what Bass said. Ballots are going out and most people only skim headlines, so stories about “Bass offends something Latino something blah blah” will only be to Caruso’s advantage.
Bass should’ve fired back with substance. The LA Times reports that prior to Avance endorsing Caruso, the group asked Bass and Caruso to sponsor their Sept. 22 event honoring Lorena Gonzalez (of all people, indicating Avance’s leadership isn’t very bright).
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Caruso gave $5,000 to sponsor the event, which is gross, and Bass didn’t. A week later, both candidates met with Avance to try to get their endorsement. While the $5,000 sponsorship officially had nothing to do with the group’s endorsement process, Bass should’ve had the $5,000 figure handy if she was going to make that line of attack. But even then that probably wasn’t worth the bad headlines.
I write all of this as someone not especially enthusiastic about either Bass or Caruso. In their favor, I will say both come across as more competent than the profoundly incompetent Mayor Eric “Will Never Be Ambassador To India” Garcetti. Bass’ link to the University of Spoiled Children social work program scandal bothers me slightly more than Caruso blowing $5,000 for an event celebrating Lorena Gonzalez. But only slightly.
Sal Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org