A roundtable discussion about the upcoming election of a new mayor in Los Angeles and four other sessions focusing on timely policy issues made up the agenda when the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs began its fourth annual Luskin Summit on Jan. 19.

Panelists analyzing the mayoral election were Steve Soboroff and Wendy Greuel, both former mayoral candidates themselves; as well as Zev Yaroslavsky, the longtime Los Angeles politician and current UCLA faculty member; and Antonia Hernandez, the president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. The session was moderated by UCLA Luskin’s Jim Newton.

The panelists agreed that of the 10 currently declared mayoral candidates, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass has the advantage of name recognition and national political experience. But City Councilman Kevin de León was also cited as a favorite of many voters based on his prior experience in Sacramento and name recognition from an unsuccessful 2018 bid for U.S. Senate. 

Soboroff, who ran for mayor in 2001 in a race won by James Hahn, said, “At this point, I think it’s Karen, plus one. And everybody else is trying to be that one.” 

He cited Bass’ experience as an elected official at both the state and national levels. “A lot has to do with bringing resources from D.C. and from Sacramento to Los Angeles. And she has the best chance of bringing resources that the others can’t.”

The summit continues with additional sessions on Feb. 15 and 23, March 2, and April 1 and 22. Visit the event website for the complete schedule and registration information. 

Read more about the first day of the summit.