On Monday, Councilman and former LAPD officer Joe Buscaino announced that he plans to run for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2022.
In his announcement, Buscaino noted that Los Angeles faces an emergency due to high rates of homelessness and crime, with policing in the city also being put at risk.
“The city is facing an emergency as thousands of people live on the streets, trash piles up in neighborhoods across the city and violence surges in South L.A.,” said Buscaino in a statement on Monday. “This isn’t the city I know and love.”
Buscaino, a first generation Italian-American, graduated from CSU-Dominguez Hills in 1996, shortly before entering the LAPD. Serving for 15 years mostly in the harbor area, Buscaino was credited with creating the LAPD’s Teen Community Police Advisory Board, a program that attempts to bridge the gap between teenagers and local police. The success of the program led to his election to the L.A. City Council in 2012, representing the 15th District comprising of the Harbor neighborhoods and Watts.
Since being elected he has been the head of the Public works commission, helped bring the Olympics into the city in 2028, and has brought some controversy by speaking out against reduced LAPD funding and being against replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. He has also brought in some criticism from homeless activists over his view of restricting the homeless can sleep at night.
He was also one of the few council members to push for a quick return of LA public schools to in-classroom learning, threatening to bring the school district to court despite the teachers union voting that they would not return until they received vaccinations.
Policing is expected to be one of the top hot button issues in the 2022 race, as many Los Angeles residents have been pressuring the city to defund the LAPD since the George Floyd riots last year. A $150 million cut to the LAPD budget last year has been called “not enough” by many activists and further LAPD reduction proposals are likely to be argued out on the debate floor next year.
A Pro-LAPD expansion Mayoral candidate
Buscaino, a former LAPD member, has been a long time police supporter, being one of only two councilmen to vote against the cut last year. He has instead argued that the Community Safety Partnership program should be expanded to help bridge gaps between the community and the police. However, that proposal has been dismissed by many LA residents wanting more social-based programs to respond to situations that police are not trained to handle.
“L.A. Councilman Joe Buscaino plans to run for Mayor in 2022 on a pro-cop, anti-unhoused agenda,” tweeted the activist group People’s City Council on Monday. “Disgusting. We’ll make sure this never happens.”
L.A. Councilman Joe Buscaino plans to run for Mayor in 2022 on a pro-cop, anti-unhoused agenda. Disgusting.
— People's City Council – Los Angeles (@PplsCityCouncil) March 15, 2021
“Joe Buscaino is a Democrat, but one that Republicans remaining in the city would most likely side with in the race,” Los Angeles political consultant Hector Garcia told the Globe. “Plus he has a lot of support in San Pedro and other harbor cities. The big downside is that he really isn’t that well-known in the rest of LA, besides making news for siding against the $150 million LAPD budget slashing and other things like that. Plus, running as a former cop now, in this climate, it may not play in his favor.
“But he does have significant support, especially if he can get some unions, like the police union, on his side. It really also depends on who else is running and wants to get Garcetti’s seat.”
As of Monday, the only other major candidate to announce their candidacy has been embattled Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. However, others, such as Central City Association CEO Jessica Lall, have been rumored to run. Others, like Councilman Kevin de Leon, have yet to rule out a 2022 run as well when questioned by the press.
Other candidates are expected to announce their candidacy soon.
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