Column: L.A., it’s time to choose a mayor. Is it Bass’ moment, or Caruso’s?

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After months of jockeying, an epic City Hall bigotry scandal, extended drought and monsoons of television ads, the great and troubled city of Los Angeles, 4 million strong, straddles a fault line as election day looms, deeply divided over the choice of its next leader.

There is Karen Bass, who’s had three public service careers — first in healthcare, second in community organizing, third as a lawmaker in Sacramento and Washington.

And there is Rick Caruso, the lawyer-turned-business mogul and philanthropist who made a fortune reinventing a classic California cultural institution: the shopping mall.

In something of an irony, each represents a declining demographic in a city now roughly half Latino. The latest poll gives Bass a tiny but shrinking lead among likely voters, with a smallish 13% undecided on stewardship of a rambling metropolis in which mega-mansions share ZIP codes with tent cities.

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