Although the two persons running for mayor of Los Angeles once sat beside each other at a USC commencement, these days they are battling it out via the media as they head toward the Nov. 8 election.
A Sept. 7 story in the LA Times stated that Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37) was awarded a full-tuition scholarship valued at nearly $100,000 from USC’s social work program.
Following the story, Bass delivered the following remarks in a Zoom press conference:
“Now, let’s talk about the master’s degree in social work that I earned. And let me tell you something – no one gets a social work degree to enrich themselves,” she said.
“Rick Caruso knows that the only reason I studied nights and weekends for a social work degree was to become a better advocate for children and families. That’s what a social work degree does,” Bass added. “Everyone knows – especially Rick Caruso – that the welfare of children and families has been a passion and policy focus of mine for decades.”
It is believed that Bass received the scholarship from the same former dean of USC’s social work program, Marilyn Flynn, who with former Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas has been indicted on bribery and fraud charges.
“This case has nothing to do with me other than that in the middle of a political campaign, Rick Caruso is trying to take advantage,” Bass said.
Later in the webinar, when highlighting her campaign, she remarked:
“Rick Caruso was on the USC board of trustees during the ugliest chapter in its history—sexual abuse of hundreds and perhaps thousands of young women by a USC doctor. We may never know, and that’s because of Rick Caruso.”
This scandal at the university, the largest private employer in the 37th District, resulted in the school agreeing to a $852 million settlement.
“When he was in the top leadership position at USC, as board chair, Rick Caruso promised a full and transparent investigation. But then, no report was ever released,” Bass said.
In the webinar, Bass asked whether Caruso can be trusted after leading USC in that manner.
“The real USC scandal we need to talk about is how Rick Caruso failed to protect these young women and then covered up the sexual assaults against them,” Bass said. “And we need to talk about whether we can trust an anti-choice Republican to protect the young women and everyone in this city.”