LA councilman proposes pay cut for elected leaders if homeless encampments are not banned

The LA councilman says homelessness is an 'emergency situation playing out on our streets'

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A Los Angeles city councilman submitted a proposed ballot measure that would reduce the salaries of city officials if the pervasive issue of homelessness is not sufficiently addressed in the city. 

"We have an emergency situation playing out on our streets, and this ballot measure offers an all-of-the-above approach to addressing it,'' Councilman Joe Buscaino said, according to CNS

Under Buscaino’s plan, homeless encampments in LA would be banned, temporary emergency shelters would be made a priority, the mayor would be given additional land-use authority during a state of emergency related to homelessness, and the city would achieve functional zero homelessness within three years. 

Screen shot of Joe Buscaino (City of Los Angeles/ YouTube)

Screen shot of Joe Buscaino (City of Los Angeles/ YouTube) (City of Los Angeles/ YouTube)

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If such goals are not sufficiently met, elected city leaders would face docked pay. 

Buscaino, a Democrat, is currently running for mayor and submitted language for the proposal to the Los Angeles city clerk on Friday. The city clerk and the city attorney will then review the proposal before organizers are potentially allowed to gather 65,000 signatures in order for the measure to hit the ballot in November.

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"Built from my experience on the City Council, where my district has few-to-zero encampments as we have tirelessly pursued shelter for residents experiencing homelessness, this ballot measure connects people in need to services and ensures a roof over their heads," Buscaino said. 

In this June 8, 2021, file photo, a jogger walks past a homeless encampment in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council is poised to clamp down on homeless encampments, making it illegal to pitch tents on some sidewalks, beneath overpasses and near parks. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

In this June 8, 2021, file photo, a jogger walks past a homeless encampment in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council is poised to clamp down on homeless encampments, making it illegal to pitch tents on some sidewalks, beneath overpasses and near parks. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

He previously introduced plans to ban homeless encampments and prioritize shelters in November, but the council rejected his motion. Some argued it would not actually solve homelessness.  

"If we do this measure, if we make enforcement the imperative, if we make enforcement the thing that drives our decisions about what to provide, what type of housing to provide, what type of shelter to provide, it is a guarantee that Los Angeles will provide the lowest common denominator stuff in order to get to enforcement as quickly as possible ... and that's going to be wrong,'' Councilman Mike Bonin said, CNS reported. 

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Los Angeles has long faced a homelessness issue, most notably in Venice Beach and Echo Park Lake. An ordinance took effect in September that banned sleeping and homeless encampments in certain parts of the city, but the issue has continued. 

Los Angeles cityscape at dusk (iStock)

Los Angeles cityscape at dusk (iStock)

Just last week, the city worked to clean up homeless camps ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, which will be held at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, but the move was slammed as a "Band-Aid" solution. 

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"We see time and time again that our politicians offer Band-Aid solutions and the encampments just move. There’s no fix to really get the people on the right track and get them the help that they need," Venice neighborhood council member Soledad Ursua told "Fox & Friends" co-host, Steve Doocy last week.