Los Angeles City Councilor Mark Ridley-Thomas announced Monday that he will not run for mayor’s office and said he intends to continue to focus on tackling the city’s homelessness crisis.
Ridley-Thomas, who has represented parts of South Los Angeles for three decades, told an audience at the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum that he would remain on the council, where he chairs the committee that deals with finding housing for tens of thousands of residents .
“My calling and focus is the Los Angeles homeless crisis, and I will be focusing on that particular issue,” he said.
So far, City Atty. Mike Feuer, Councilor Joe Buscaino and San Fernando Valley real estate agent Mel Wilson have entered the race to succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was first elected to office in 2013.
Ridley-Thomas’ announcement comes a few weeks after another South Los Angeles politician, US Democratic MP Karen Bass, confirmed she was being asked by supporters to consider her own mayoral election. Some in her orbit had argued that if Ridley-Thomas was also in the race, she would be much less likely to run.
Ridley-Thomas said he didn’t ask Bass to run but predicted she would be an impressive force if she entered the competition.
“If she ran away, it would send terror through the ranks,” he said.
Garcetti’s term ends in December 2022. He was nominated by President Biden as US Ambassador to India, but has first to be confirmed by the US Senate.
Several people – the real estate developer Rick Caruso, Council President Nury Martinez, City Councilor Kevin de León and Jessica Lall who run the Central City Assn. – have been thinking seriously about running for mayor over the past few months.
Ridley-Thomas served on several public offices including the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the state Senate. In December, after an 18-year absence, he returned to the city council, representing a district that stretches from Koreatown to Leimert Park in southern Los Angeles.