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Buscaino Steps Down as President Pro Tem

- By Fabiola Esqueda, GNI Fellow

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino announced on Aug. 21 he will step down as president pro tem to focus on his run for mayor. The decision came after six council members were preparing to remove him from his post.

The motion for his removal came just days before Buscaino was quoted in a Los Angeles Magazine article degrading his colleagues. He described Council President Nury Martinez as a “disappoint­ment” and called City Councilman Kevin de León a “scrub.”

Buscaino, who is running as a Democrat for the mayoral seat, announced his resignatio­n during a city council meeting. The vote for his removal was scheduled for the following week.

His time in office serving the 15th District, which includes San Pedro and Wilmington, was characteri­zed by opposition from his colleagues for his rough criminaliz­ation propositio­ns on the homelessne­ss crisis. Earlier this month, he introduced a ballot measure that would criminaliz­e people who live on sidewalks and those living in homeless encampment­s if they turned down shelter or housing options. He planned to go against his colleagues’ recommenda­tions if they didn’t act on his proposal — he would have to gather the 64,000 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the June 2022 ballot.

Buscaino, who was born and reared in San Pedro, is notorious for going against his constituen­ts and apologizin­g for his controvers­ial choices later. For this reason, his right-centrist views on homelessne­ss, policing and internatio­nal aid are left with much criticism from left-wing activist groups and his fellow council members.

Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapoli­s, Minn., Buscaino called for the arrests of officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. He also showed his support for the nationwide protests. Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and other activist groups have called for the reallocati­on of the police budget. But Buscaino proposed an increase in police funding and voted against cutting the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget by $150 million. Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles condemned Buscaino’s proposal.

He most recently came under fire when he tweeted his support for the controvers­ial $1 billion funding of the Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system.

“Congresswo­man Barragan is 100% correct,” Buscaino tweeted in response to Rep. Nanette Barragán announcing she will vote for the additional funding. “I am happy she represents us in Congress and I too support Israel!”

Buscaino is the first mayoral candidate to show support for Israel. This was after the Gaza attacks earlier this year, where Israeli airstrikes killed 212 Palestinia­ns, including at least 61 children. The attack displaced about 75,000 people.

Buscaino, former senior lead officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor Division, announced his candidacy for mayor in March to succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti. His opponents for the mayoral position so far are Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin De León, Rep. Karen Bass, City Attorney Mike Feuer and president and chief executive of the Central City Associatio­n, Jessica Lall. More are expected to announce their candidacy in the coming months.

The mayoral primary election is in June 2022. The two remaining candidates will be voted on in November 2022.

 ?? ?? Councilman Joe Buscaino recently stepped down as president pro tempore of the city council. File photo
Councilman Joe Buscaino recently stepped down as president pro tempore of the city council. File photo

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