LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles City Council member is looking for answers about a recent break-in at the home of Congresswoman and LA mayoral candidate Karen Bass where two guns were stolen – and nothing else – but an expert says the letter and its timing are real a political move.
In the Sept. 21 letter on City of Los Angeles letterhead, Councilman Joe Buscaino asked Los Angeles Police Commissioner Michel Moore and District Attorney Mike Feuer for answers. “Her house was broken into; her peace of mind was violated. You and the public deserve answers,” Buscaino said in the letter.
In the letter, Buscaino asks:
- Why were Bass’ guns aimed?
- How were they stored?
- Who were they registered with and when?
Bass told FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson: “They’ve been locked up. You have been registered. They were locked in a safe and stored in a closet.”
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘My security was shattered’: Karen Bass opens up about ‘traumatic’ burglary that had her guns stolen
To pursue the case, FOX 11 filed a public record request, asking LAPD for the 911 call recordings and police report. The department denied the request, saying those documents were part of the investigation.
Buscaino: “This case deserves due diligence because it can be a learning moment in this city about persistent crime and responsible gun ownership and storage.”
But Fernando Guerra, a professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University, said: “I think the letter is clearly part of the campaign; political in nature.”
Guerra says the letter is a legitimate public discussion, but because Buscaino — who ran for mayor before supporting Bass opponent Rick Caruso — published the letter just before Bass and Caruso took part in a mayoral debate, it raises questions.
“It’s very unusual for a city council member to send a specific inquiry about a particular crime, especially not in their precinct,” Guerra said. “It hardly ever happens, so it’s unusual. That’s why it’s political.”
City Attorney Mike Feuer, who endorsed Karen Bass after his own unsuccessful run for mayor, said “no comment.” on the letter.
In response to Guerra’s assessment that the city council was making politics, Buscaino said the letter was not a political move.
“This is a response on behalf of the people of Los Angeles,” Buscaino said. “There are two outstanding arms taken from a high profile elected official. It is important that both the Member of Congress and the public get these answers.”
Meanwhile, LA County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Gonzalez sent FOX 11 a copy of his request to District Attorney Feuer and Kenneth Hardy that he wants the City Council, his letter and Rick Caruso’s campaign to be investigated. Hardy is the head of enforcement for the Los Angeles Ethics Committee. In his letter, Gonzalez said, “It is shocking and an illegal abuse of power for a mayoral candidate and a city council member to conspire to use the city’s resources to prompt a baseless LAPD investigation of a competing candidate.” Also, in response to this request the public prosecutor’s office responded with “no comment”.