The city council will vote on Nov. 23 whether to add the measure, which would ban sidewalk encampments in public areas of the city where enough shelter is available and offered to the homeless, on the 2022 ballot. The legislation was introduced by Buscaino, who’s also running for mayor. It was seconded by Councilman John Lee.
The ballot measure would also prioritize the production of emergency temporary shelter over permanent housing and grant the mayor the authority to cut through red tape and expedite the construction of emergency homeless housing.
This week, Buscaino displayed on Twitter a poll by ALG, a public opinion research and consulting firm, showing that 64 percent of 600 likely 2022 primary Angeleno voters across the political spectrum are in favor of the anti-encampment legislation. The same poll found that 92 percent of potential voters consider addressing homelessness a priority issue for the mayor of Los Angeles.
A spokesperson for Buscaino confirmed to The Epoch Times that the poll was commissioned and paid for by Buscaino’s mayoral campaign.
However, some Angelenos on Twitter have questioned the validity of the poll, pointing out that ALG Research is the same pollster that acknowledged “major errors” in 2020 election polling. Others in opposition to the proposal have pointed out that the poll’s sample size only represents a small fraction of the millions of Los Angeles residents.
“Polls like these are so dumb,” one Angeleno wrote on Twitter, “[because] you basically got 600 responses and spin it to be like ‘oh look they like my plan’ when in reality, there are 3.9 [million] residents in LA and this is .015 [percent] of a response which is terrible to qualify a ballot measure as ‘what the public wants.’ ”
Other Los Angeles residents have vocalized their support for Buscaino’s measure.
“We need someone who will be tough on crime and clean up the sidewalks,” another Angeleno wrote on Twitter. “We pay massive amounts of taxes in this state but any junkie can pitch a tent or ditch an RV around the corner and start fires and harassing people, enough.”
Buscaino’s colleague and rival Councilman Kevin de Leon, who’s also running for mayor, said he believes the ballot measure to be the “wrong approach.”
“Since the city council is actively moving forward policies to address homeless encampments through strategic outreach and housing for people in need, a ballot measure seems the wrong approach,” de Leon said. “The fact is that a ballot measure would be extremely costly to taxpayers and would likely result in a continuation of the litigation merry-go-round that’s kept the city from implementing real solutions.”
De Leon replaced former Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas as Homelessness and Poverty Committee chairman after Ridley-Thomas was suspended from the council following charges of bribery and fraud.
The city council has previously rejected proposals from Buscaino to ban camping by unhoused individuals who have already been offered shelter. Currently, encampments are banned in several Los Angeles neighborhoods, but most areas require a vote by the council before enforcement.