Joe Buscaino’s ‘A Little Too Perfect’ Mayoral Campaign Kickoff

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When I first heard on the news that a woman brandished a knife at Los Angeles Councilmember Joe Buscaino’s mayoral campaign launch in Venice, I thought to myself that it had to have been staged.  The situation was–let’s say–too convenient, all the way down to the right place at the right time photos of the woman being taken down by Los Angeles police officers.  

But staged or not, what’s up with Buscaino passing up Watts, which is actually his district, and Skid Row, which is around the corner from City Hall, to go almost 20 miles west to Venice to kick off his campaign for mayor?  

So it got me thinking. What do both Watts and Skid Row have that Venice doesn’t? A large majority Black unhoused population.

Joe Buscaino mayoral campaign
Joe Buscaino at the opening of a Bridge Home in July 2020 (Photo by Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

If homelessness was really the focus of Buscaino’s mayoral campaign he would have kicked it off in Skid Row. But it wasn’t. No, Joe wanted to take advantage of the media’s interest in the anger of the white Venice homeowners in the debate over the city’s homelessness policies much like L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is doing.  Villanueva, facing an uphill battle for his re-election, is taking a page out of former President Donald Trump’s playbook and going around the county to hotspots like Venice to “save the day.” 

How Venice became the focal point on homelessness in Los Angeles is owed to one thing, angry white people.  The amount of unhoused people in Venice doesn’t compare to those living in Skid Row.  But Venice has two things Skid Row doesn’t–angry white homeowners who vote and tourists who contribute a lot of money to L.A.’s economy.

Joe Buscaino is clearly angling for the votes of the frustrated NIMBY white Venice homeowners upset with the growing unhoused population interrupting their idyllic beach side neighborhoods.

But really, what’s a Buscaino administration going to do to help the unhoused?  Help them into the nearest jail cell that they’re going to be released from the same day?  Buscaino is known for his support of restricting where homeless people can sleep among other unpopular and inhumane anti-homeless policies.

I’m not too worried about Joe though. Even if he got the vote of every registered voter in Venice and all of the conservative valley votes, that still wouldn’t be enough to catapult him into the mayor’s office. 

If he even makes it to the point of actually filing to run for mayor, because it’s a long way from bended knee to the altar, he will never be able to overcome his career as a member of the LAPD (and being a current reserve officer) to gain enough traction with today’s woke voters to make it past the primary.   And if the police union kicks in support for his campaign–well in L.A.–that’s now known as the political kiss of death and his mayoral campaign will be dead on arrival.

As I said before, cops aren’t popular right now in Los Angeles, so Buscaino’s chance of becoming mayor is only slightly better than Mike I-Like-to-Prosecute-the-Homeless-and-Protestors Feuer.  I said better because, if you can believe this, Feuer is actually hated more than Buscaino by the criminal justice reform community for his prosecution of protestors and the homeless and his covering up for the LAPD’s misconduct while keeping body camera footage from the public.

Still, it’s going to be highly entertaining watching Feuer and Buscaino campaign for an office neither one of them will be elected to.

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