By Nick Antonicello, Yo! Venice Columnist
Councilman Joe Buscaino sat down with Yo! Venice to discuss the issues important to Venetians.
The issues they really want to talk about!
A retired police officer and current councilman representing San Pedro, Buscaino launched his candidacy last summer at Venice Beach in lieu of the homeless encampments and rising crime that plagued this coastline neighborhood for months.
Considered a top-tier candidate in a field of nearly three dozen hopefuls to date, many handicap the race as Buscaino along with City Attorney Mike Feuer, US Representative Karen Bass and Developer Rick Caruso as the frontrunners to succeed outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti who was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the next Ambassador to India.
Buscaino is the first in a series of interviews with candidates for the office of Mayor of Los Angeles:
Nick Antonicello: What is your position on loosening COVID-19 restrictions moving forward?
Joe Buscaino: I have continuously throughout the course of this pandemic, called for our public health orders to be aligned with that of the CDC. The state, county, and city restrictions hurt our local economy, especially our small businesses, and were not always aligned with that of the CDC. We need to fully reopen our economy, we have universal access to vaccines and tests, all the tools needed to resume life as usual.
Nick Antonicello: The State of California has a large operating surplus. Would you lobby for those dollars to combat homelessness and provide the services required to keep the unhoused off the streets of Los Angeles?
Joe Buscaino: Absolutely. I have called on the state to move quickly on a number of initiatives that would address homelessness in Los Angeles. Here are a few:
- Resolution asking Legislature to Change the Definition of “Gravely Disabled” for 5150 Reforms
- Letter to Governor Newsom, asking him to apply for a Section 1115 waiver to allow Medicaid to pay for inpatient mental health care.
- 2019 Resolution asking Governor Newsom to apply for a Section 1115 waiver
- 2021 Resolution asking Govenror Newsom to apply for a Section 1115 waiver
- Resolution supporting HR 2611 which would provide federal funding for inpatient mental health care (Bass is Co-Sponsor)
- Resolution asking Governor Newsom to declare a state of emergency.
- Daily News Op Ed asking Governor Newsom to declare a state of emergency
What is your position regarding LAHSA? Are they an effective unit of government and what reforms would you propose?
We need to divorce the City from LAHSA, effective immediately. Here are a few times I have been on record for this item.
There are currently 14 candidates for council in CD-11, do you plan on making an endorsement in that race?
I am very impressed with one candidate in particular. I think you will see a partnership in the near future.
Who are you endorsing in the April 5th special Assembly race to succeed Autumn Burke?
Nico Ruderman for State Assembly.
What is your specific plan to reduce crime the moment you assume office?
- Refund the LAPD $150M
- Restore the department to staffing levels of 11,000
- Increase civil hire positions to restore officers back on the street, patrolling and protecting our neighborhoods
- Increase the Senior Lead Officer program
- Increase the Community Safety Partnership Program
What “quality of life” proposals will you endorse to make neighborhoods cleaner and safe?
- Expand our Clean and Green initiatives with organizations like LACC, Homeboy Industries, and homeless service partners; providing jobs to those in need in exchange of clean communities
- Promote and expand neighborhood watch clubs, community block programs, and others that bring neighbors together
Centennial Park in Venice across from the Library is overrun with tents, new encampments and stationary RV vehicles. Have you been to the site and what will you do to remove the encampment?
Under my Safer Streets LA initiative- encampments will not be allowed at parks, libraries, or other public amenities. These assets are intended for public use and should be kept safe, accessible, and clean for everyone to enjoy.
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who covers local politics and government and how it impacts Venice Beach. A member of the Outreach and Oceanfront Committee’s of the Venice Neighborhood Council, he can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at email@example.com