Caruso and Bass, You Call This Leadership? Shame on You Both.

I avoid getting too mired in the news, since half of it is made up or exaggerated and the other half is just plain bad news intended to stir some pot.

But I couldn’t turn my head from the recent battle between Rick Caruso and Karen Bass—a battle which has no place in our current culture.

In a nutshell, Rick Caruso is “accusing” Karen Bass of being supportive of my religion. Karen Bass’ rebuttal is that she “condemns” my religion.

Los Angeles
Los Angeles City Hall, where Rick Caruso and Karen Bass are contending to serve as mayor (Photo by TrekandShoot/

In the first place, why would any allegiance or support of the Church of Scientology be an accusation? Bass spoke, along with other leaders, at a celebration of the opening of our Church of Scientology of Los Angeles over a decade ago. Many civic and religious leaders across the country have attended similar grand opening events, as we have opened more than 70 new churches in recent years to make our help available in more and more areas around the world. Ms. Bass, to my knowledge, has never been a Scientologist.

But as I understand it, we do have freedom of religion in this country. So what if she were?

Grow up, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass—or at least one of you. 

And Bass condemns my religion? For what? For the many human rights campaigns we fund and support around the world? For our Volunteer Minister program that is among the first to respond at any natural disaster anywhere, with our help given freely? For the massive number of neighborhood cleanups we do, food banks we support, and blood drives we host? For distributing our nonreligious moral code The Way to Happiness across Los Angeles and our Stay Well booklets in the face of the pandemic, free of charge, to improve the quality of life for individuals and society?

Rick Caruso
Rick Caruso speaks at a news conference at Grand Central Market in downtown L.A. (Ringo Chiu/

Your remarks, Karen Bass and Rick Caruso, directly feed the discrimination and derisiveness which has done tremendous harm in our state and nation over recent years.

I am a Scientologist. I have been for the past 40 years. And guess what, Karen Bass and Rick Caruso, there’s a lot of us, especially in the state where you’re running for office. And guess what else: like California, Scientology is a fully inclusive group with its members also members of virtually every other group you can name, including those to which you belong.

If you don’t understand Scientology or if you’ve been deluded by the 50% made-up news or the 50% bad news, either read a book and find out, or simply acknowledge the fact that you don’t know. But targeting a religious group to further your own political platform is puerile at best, and hateful and vicious at worst.

Grow up, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass—or at least one of you. Apologize and take responsibility for your destructive statements, and demonstrate that you can—and deserve to—be an actual leader.

Kelley Pomerantz
Kelley is an author and business executive. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two spoiled dogs.