The Missing Conversation explores the pressing issues in our world and the innovative solutions that support a greater chance of survival for our city, country, and planet. In this episode, on Psycho-Politics, Robert Strock is joined by LA Mayoral Candidate Craig Greiwe, who expands on his plans to help end homelessness, reduce affordability issues, and improve crime response in LA.
Getting to the root of these problems is crucial to eradicating them. Instead of surface measures that act as bandaids, Craig takes us through his actual, transparent plans to achieve these goals. As he shares his background, one that’s starkly different from most other institutionalists in government, Craig underscores his experience with problem-solving and the importance of taking responsibility for your role in the world. The idea is to lead with empathy — something Craig understands from his own personal experiences with poverty and abandonment. He talks about the awareness of trying to move from frustration and anger towards understanding and ambition to change. It’s what helps him (and could help us) find common ground with others and meet them at their level.
For the first time in decades, there’s an opportunity for common ground leadership within the government, something that can be taken advantage of to really and transparently help people. In fact, Craig is the only mayoral candidate to publish his concrete plans of action publicly.
Here’s an overview of the platforms and goals Craig is running on:
From reducing the cost of building housing to incorporating sheltered housing, permanent housing, transitionary housing, and more, Craig’s POA has a robust array of solutions to end homelessness in LA. His goal is to make LA a zero functional homeless city. One unique aspect of his plan is to categorize housing and homeless needs — collaborative shared housing units, mental health beds, residential beds, substance abuse beds, etc. This will help solve individual and collective issues instead of treating everyone the same.
Craig’s plan also wants to help those on the verge of homelessness stay housed with a 24/7 helpline that will direct folks in need to the right resources.
The end goal is to help the homeless stand on their feet again and help them contribute to society and move forward and upward in their lives. The plan also includes complete transparency about where the money is being utilized to accountability to reduce corruption/
According to McKinsey, 70% of LA folks struggle to make rent. Craig’s goal is to ensure that no one needs to pay more than 30% of their income as rent. In addition, removing arcane regulations, updating zoning codes, and responsible building can help improve the affordable housing crisis.
3. Crime and public safety
Currently, LA police spend 34% of their time on homelessness — the equivalent of 3000 officers off the streets. By reducing and then eliminating homelessness, Craig wants to create a more holistic way of dealing with crime and public safety. From bringing on mental health to medical experts and social workers, Craig recognizes that the police are stretched too thin and not equipped with the right skills and experience to truly help those in need.
Robert’s conversation with Craig highlights the need for collective effort instead of an us vs them mentality that can hinder progress. Cooperation coupled with radical transparency is the way forward.
“People deserve to know who their leaders are…where the money is going and when it’s coming back to them because the reality is that every dollar that we pay in taxes should be coming back to us in the form of services and a functioning city that works for us instead of breaking people down. That’s the city that I want to build.” —Craig Greiwe
Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast
The Missing Conversation, Bonus Episode Two with Craig Greiwe.
Craig Greiwe: (00:06)
I am motivated by the fact that this city has been governed by a country club that has led us down the wrong tracks.
On this podcast we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking, as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.
Robert Strock: (00:52)
Very warm welcome again, to The Missing Conversation where we do our very best to address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support a greater chance of survival for our country, for our city and our planet. Today, we’re going to meet one of the major candidates who has a very innovative set of plans for the upcoming election for mayor of Los Angeles. Craig Greiwe. Craig has been a business leader for decades serving as a strategist and executive who finds solutions to seemingly impossible problems, which for those out there that are seeing it. We certainly see that in Los Angeles, he created groundbreaking programs and climate change for the United Nations and launched dozens of products in the pandemic. He designed programs that saved thousands of small businesses. He’s advised some of America’s most preeminent companies in how to plan for the future. And most importantly, he’s walked into dozens of businesses who have all had the resources in the world, but who have big intractable problems and rearranged operations, employees, and products to drive real success and accountability. Craig, it’s really a pleasure to have you on the show and would really welcome you to tell us a little bit about your background and include the news about you being a candidate.
Craig Greiwe: (02:36)
Thank you so much for having me. Um, and thank you for, uh, for hosting these conversations. They are indeed missing from, from our, from our, our daily lives. You know, I, um, yes, I’m a mayor candidate, uh, for LA. Um, but long before that I was a problem solver. I’ve been having to solve impossible problems my entire life. Um, you know, I grew up in rural Indiana, um, surrounded by poverty enmeshed in it. Um, the type of poor where you couldn’t afford shoes, um, and the, you know, abandoned at the age of 14, um, you know, that’s an impossible situation, right? And so, from the beginning, I’ve, I’ve lived an experience, um, that resembles the journey that we as a city are going on. Um, it’s a journey that I’ve repeated throughout my career, um, where you are confronted with a situation and you have to diagnose everything in real time with high stakes as to what can happen.
Craig Greiwe: (03:46)
And, and in my case, you know, early on it truly was life or death decisions, right? The, you know, having enough money to have a place to live and food to eat, which I didn’t. Um, and, you know, I’ve taken that same sort of approach to focusing on getting to the bottom of where problems really are for my entire life. Um, not just in my own poverty, my own personal situation, but for my clients, um, working for some of the most trusted and largest corporations in America, um, for the late Kobe Bryant for a number of folks over the years where it’s been, okay, let’s get to the root of this, right? Like, let’s get to the roots of the problem. Um, let, what, what are we actually talking about? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Um, and so that certainly has, is the recurring theme. And it’s, I think a theme that hits well and that we’re not having, uh, more globally here in LA is we talk a lot about programs and things that we want to do, but we need to make sure that those programs and those solutions get to the root of the problem that aren’t just a band-aid. And so that’s what my candidacy has been focused on.
Robert Strock: (04:57)
Yeah. What you’re talking about with your background, um, Alan Graham, who, who has perhaps the most innovative program in the country in Austin, Texas says that the root of homelessness dominantly comes from a background like yours. You know, where, where you don’t have family support, you’re, you’re thrown out in the world on your own. And obviously don’t have the inner resources, maybe good luck, maybe good breaks, but also the intelligence to be able to innovate for yourselves. And so you’re left, thrown out in the world with no money and no connections. And you’re, you’re, you know, you, you’re left out in the open and it’s a set up for homelessness. And so, for you to be in that background is, is such a key to understand the root as your saying of the problem. Could you tell us a bit about your breakthroughs in let’s say personally, whether it was a connection with a person that was a mentor or whether it was an insight or some of the greatest empowerments, um, in your, let’s say what set up your political direction?
Craig Greiwe: (06:03)
Yeah, well, I, I certainly didn’t grow up wanting to run for office. I was never the kid who said, oh, I wanna run for president someday. That wasn’t me. Um, the poor, poor kids don’t have those types of ambitions. They, they say, I wanna go work on wall street cuz that’s where the money is. The, um, and I never made it to wall street, but I did, you know, a career in business. But I think, you know, the first realization is that you have to be aware of everyone around you and every decision that they’re making, because those decisions impact you and an inordinate way. You have to, you can’t, um, you know, I, as the we’ve, we’ve talked about it a little bit in, in the concept of psycho-politics, right? You’ve got to focus on tuning into what you are feeling and what you are projecting, what people themselves are being, um, and doing.
Craig Greiwe: (06:56)
And you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta control your role in it. Um, you’ve gotta take responsibility for your role in your world. Um, I could have been, you know, I wasn’t poor by choice, right? I grew up that way. I wasn’t abandoned by choice. Those things happened to me, but I could sit around and be angry and frustrated about it. I could be, uh, put my own self-interest in and say, well, this is unfair. How did this happen to me? Or I could focus on, okay, what do I do next? And I think that would, that was the, the, the core breakthrough in my life was taking a look at my own identity and saying, what do I do next? Um, I holding onto that anger, holding onto that frustration is never gonna get me anywhere. Um, I’ve gotta put one foot in front of the other and I’ve gotta focus on what, on what I’m going to do next to make my life better without blaming others. And I think that was, that was a core breakthrough for me in terms of being able to separate myself from how I got where I was and say, all right, let’s focus on how we get out of this.
Robert Strock: (08:02)
Yeah. And, and, and that really is such a key overlap with psycho-politics. As you said, where those that are thrown into difficult situations, there’s such a tendency to stay with blame or withdrawal, but being able to stay focused on the next step and look at the whole picture and being able to really be resourceful is such a challenge, but you don’t have a better alternative. And it sounds like that really, really is, and has been your path to, to build you to where you are.
Craig Greiwe: (08:33)
Yeah. And certainly you have to be empathetic to anyone who finds themselves in, in a, in a challenging situation, right? You have to lead with empathy, uh, just because, you know, I’m focused on, and it’s a challenge every day to let go of anger and frustration and, and, and focus on awareness. Um, you have to be aware of everyone else’s feelings, their feelings of fear and distrust, anger, and you have to meet them in their feelings. I think that’s probably the second breakthrough is that as much as I’m in control of my own feelings and need to take responsibility and accountability for where I am and what I’m doing, I also have to meet everyone where they are. You can’t just, we, we too often we tell people, oh, well, you shouldn’t feel this way. You, you, you, this is the truth or this is where things are going, but we, we don’t first understand them or seek to understand. And I think that’s the other component is you’ve gotta meet everyone individually as a whole in the public where they are and guide them forward, empower them to make decisions, um, that are gonna lead us all forward.
Robert Strock: (09:34)
What I’m excited about out in not only in your candidacy, but in you is that you have a vision of us all being on the same boat. And that, that, that, that we’re all here interconnected and there’s that sense of being interconnected rather than, and us and them, you know, that, that, that we’re Los Angelenos, we’re, we’re Americans, we’re world citizens, we’re all interconnected. And we’ve got to have systems that can be practical, that can work for us all. And I know we’re gonna dig deeper into that, uh, as we move through it, um, uh, how would you characterize your, your life right now as to what you’re doing? And, and also what’s, what’s really motivated you to take this gigantic leap out of nowhere.
Craig Greiwe: (10:20)
Yeah. I think that’s the, it’s funny because there are so many people, um, who are part of the institutional governance of this city, um, who, uh, we’ll call them the insiders game, or I call them the institutionalists, meaning they’re not necessarily just elected officials or career politicians, they’re the institution. They’re part, they’ve been part of the institution. Even if they’ve been in private practice, they’ve been part of the governance of the city for decades. And inevitably I encounter one of two reactions when I talk about running for mayor. When I talk about it with everyday Angelenos, people like you and me who are just normal folks, all in the same boat here in a city, that’s struggling and with a population that’s struggling within that city, they’re excited. They’re enthusiastic about the approach, right? About the fact that we can focus on solutions that we’ve got plans to move us forward.
Craig Greiwe: (11:13)
When I talk to the institutionalists, their first response is why, how are you running for mayor? I’ve never heard of you as if it’s some sort of country club, um, as if the governance of our city belongs to a certain class. And I think that’s what motivated me, right, is because I started digging into what the problems were in LA, in my spare time, because I thought, well, we’ve got thousands of nonprofits and things are just getting worse. Where are the problems? What, what is really going on? And when I found out what was really going on, I built a movement of everyday Angelenos called Rise Together, focused on people being in the same boat on, on finding common ground and common sense. And we found candidates, uh, that for the first time in, in decades, present LA with an opportunity for common ground leaderships, but that simply didn’t exist in the mayor’s race.
Craig Greiwe: (12:02)
I, every candidate who’s running is a career institutionalist and a career politician. And that’s a challenge because we, we cannot trust the people who created our problems to also be the people who solve them. And I tried to find and recruit folks to run all of whom, who came back and said, no, you should run. And I said, no, I have no intention of running. And they said, that’s why you’ll be good at it. That’s why you would be a good leader because you are not in this. And I’m not in this for anything other to, than to fix this city. I don’t wanna be governor. I don’t wanna be Senator. I’m not bouncing from one office to the next. This isn’t a, you know, a come home retirement party as it, as it is for one candidate. It, I am motivated by the fact that this city has been governed by a country club that has led us down the wrong tracks. And we are only to break that cycle by heading in a new direction.
Robert Strock: (12:49)
For those, for those that have watched a Game of Thrones, uh, John Snow on Game of Thrones, he, he did not want the power. You know, he did not want the power. So everybody said, you’re the right one to lead. And, you know, it was a very, very powerful, you know, amplification of, of what you’re saying. I’d like to dive really deeply right now and give you a chance, uh, to, to give us a sense of, of, of your platform in terms of the, you know, handful of areas that you’re really going to dig into. And maybe pause a little bit, let me bounce off that, but why don’t, why don’t you go through, I know you’re maybe starting with homelessness and we can, we can go through that to give everybody a chance to see who you are and what, what you’re really gonna be going for as mayor.
Craig Greiwe: (13:31)
Yeah, I think the core, and I’ll say this, the, of everything that I do is finding the common ground where we can move forward on any issue. We, right now we pit people against each other. We say that you can either be pro law and order or oppose social justices, as if they’re in competition with each other. They’re not, uh, people say you can either be pro community or pro businesses if they’re in competition with each other, they’re not, uh, it’s about bringing those folks together. It’s about everybody being in the same boat. It’s about everybody having awareness of their commitments and their obligations to being in the same boat and what we can do to move, move the city forward. Now it, how does that translate into key issues? It means right now, 90% of Angelenos agree that homelessness, affordability, and crime and public safety are the top three issues confronting this city.
Craig Greiwe: (14:19)
Now that doesn’t mean, uh, that we are getting rid of climate change and traffic and all of the other concerns, you’ve gotta walk and chew gum at the same time, but we should be so lucky that we’re talking about broken sidewalks instead of talking about five people dying on those sidewalks every day, um, from homelessness. And so, my key priority are homelessness, affordability, and crime. And then as it relates, uh, to this, to the common sense leadership of this city as a whole corruption, because the public corruption is what’s led to us spiraling out of controlling issues. Um, and I am the only candidate to have declared with concrete published plans in each of these areas, shocking, but not shocking that anyone would run for mayor of the second largest city in America and not publish a single concrete plan about what they will do. They all say, when I get into office, I’ll tell you, that’s not how it works. And so those are my key priority areas, but we can dive into any individual, one of them because, and they’re all interconnected to some extent.
Robert Strock: (15:20)
Give us a little detail about homelessness.
Craig Greiwe: (15:23)
So, I am the only candidate with a plan to end homelessness in Los Angeles. And I actually, I get feedback from this, um, every day because real, everyday folks are, you know, we talk about this as an overwhelming crisis and it is it’s, it’s a, it’s a disaster and a humanitarian crisis, but it’s also only 60,000 people in the county, roughly we’re talking about football stadium size problem. You’re telling me with 8 billion dollars we poured into a football stadium size problem, we’ve made it worse and not better. Clearly, we’re not spending the money in the right place. I, so I am the only candidate with a plan to end homelessness to move to functional zero homelessness in four years and everyday Angelenos love it. And institutionalists tell me, Ooh, maybe you should say that you’re just going to address it because ending homelessness sounds like empty promises and I’m like, no, it’s actually possible.
Craig Greiwe: (16:08)
Fourteen cities in America have moved to functional zero homelessness. It, we require now everyone who needs permanent supportive housing and will get it, but it requires us to focus on immediate and transitional solutions that then lead to long-term solutions. Because while the city’s obsession with building permanent supportive housing at a cost of $700,000 a unit is insane, it’s also costing lives. We’ve built 1000 permanent supportive housing units. While 4,000 people have died on the streets, those numbers don’t work together. And so, um, certainly we’ve, it’s a robust array of solutions that involve immediate, uh, shelter-based housing. So, with semi-private rooms for 20,000 individuals, uh, or 20,000 slots, uh, 10,000 transitional support of housing units, 12,000 collaborative shared housing units, 5,000 additional mental health, residential beds, uh, 500 substance abuse, residential beds, um, just as a start down that program. Um, and then certainly, uh, real time database.
Craig Greiwe: (17:06)
That’s going to allow us to map who’s homeless at any given time, what they need and, and categorize those needs. We’re meeting them cuz right now the system just treats everybody the same. And then finally, a 24/7 hotline, a comp, as you mentioned, folks who come from a background like me, when, when, when somebody is about to become homeless and they don’t have family or resources to rely on who do they call? It is 10 times cheaper to keep someone in their home and stable than it is to get them off the street. And so, a 24/7 hotline with real immediate help within 24 hours to keep, to make, to keep people housed, to make sure under my administration, if you have a home today, you have a home tomorrow. And so those are the three key priorities is, is immediate, a shift from permanent supportive housing to immediate and transitional housing. While we assess our permanent supportive housing needs, doesn’t mean we’re not gonna stop or that we’re gonna stop. We, we, we will have that. We will look to long-term solutions like the ones that you are working on. Um, and then a real time database and then a 24/7 hotline, um, to prevent homelessness with real resources.
Robert Strock: (18:11)
Do you see the, the, the land where these units that go on as being mostly private land or government land, city, county, uh, state, federal lands, how do you see that working?
Craig Greiwe: (18:25)
Well, the good news is we can choose from all of the above, right? We should, we should take our resources where we find them. There are organizations like Dignity Moves who are using private land, right? And, and it’s cost effectively using private land. But the good news is even if we have zero private land, we have all the public lands we need. Um, the Pacific Urbanism Center has mapped all of the available space in the county and in this city that is city-owned and county-owned or controlled, um, that is not public, recreational land, right? So, we’re not taking parks and beaches away from folks. Uh, and that doesn’t require regrading. Meaning you can use, you can use it immediately. Just what was, what we call drop housing. You can drop a shelter and it’s ready to go immediately. You don’t have to regrade the land. Um, and they’ve shown that in the county, there’s enough space to house, at least a million homeless individuals. So, there’s plenty of space. We, the one thing we do not lack in LA city and LA county is space.
Robert Strock: (19:23)
Yeah. Yeah. And, and I wanna just reinforce what you’re saying. As you know, the governor has proposed 3 or $4 billion dollars per year for this year and next year, just for Los Angeles and not even proposed, it’s there, but the difficulty that’s happening is the agency HACLA at the risk of pissing some people off HACLA and, and several of the other agencies are, are choosing motels and hotels and, and, and repurposing buildings and are not even communicating with the homeless programs that exist right now for consultation. The homeless programs can’t even, uh, propose a particular location, um, unless they have massive political support. And so it’s really, the, these agencies are being empowered to choose hotels and motels and aren’t really setting up situations where programs can be done. And it’s not gonna be at the scale that you’re talking about with 20,000 here and 10,000 here and different kinds of programs. So how do you see being able to deal with the lack of transparency, where, where these programs cannot, um, that are really doing the work, cannot even make proposals and, and be able to interface with the billions of dollars. And the agencies are making their own decisions with choosing hotels and motels and reconfiguring buildings. You know, how, how, how do you see being able to override that as mayor, if you have them operating with a different hand than you are?
Craig Greiwe: (20:57)
Of course, I think, you know, the problem is that the, the city and the county have built up this massive, what, what folks call the, uh, this nonprofit, uh, infrastructure around, right? Like the, the, the homeless complex, um, industrial complex, um, the nonprofit complex. And so, the good news is that there are a wide range of tools at the mayor’s disposal. My preference is to find common ground and work with the county and the city council to move forward. And certainly, I do see at least a, a, a strong handful core of candidates getting elected to city council in this cycle who have common ground approaches. That’s, that was the whole point of the movement. When I started Rise Together it’s that those, those candidates exist and will be in office. And we can build a coalition that can break this apart. But the mayor also has to be prepared to operate independently of these, of these individuals.
Craig Greiwe: (21:50)
If they’re in transient for years, the city and the county had just been sitting and not talking to each other, the, the city says, well, we can’t move forward because we need the county. And then the county says, well, we’re doing our own thing. You’ve got the five board of wizards as I call them the board of supervisors. Um, each of whom govern more people than the governors of 14 states, um, you know, operating in their own world. The good news is that the mayor can do a lot. I’m not going to wait on the county. I’m not going to wait on city council to get their act together. You start with an emergency declaration that, you know, that really gives you executive authority under the charter of the city to bypass some of the, these restrictions, these rules, and these, these agencies, you move towards both a state and a federal disaster declaration, which gives you additional executive authority, um, that allows you then to direct these funds, uh, and in redirect them away from where they’re not going to help people, but we’re triple counting and triple paying and we’re not getting accountability.
Craig Greiwe: (22:48)
And you issue an executive order that in that insists that any city money that is spent must be accounted for that. You’ve gotta have, you gotta show me the receipts, if you, or I, or anyone who has a job wants to file an expense report at work, we’ve gotta show the receipts for what they spent. We’ve gotta do the same. It’s fundamental basics here in the city. And we don’t do those things. All of those powers are within the, are within the authority and purview of the mayor. And I plan to use all of them. And to that extent, that gives you a significant executive hand in how to move things along in pointing, uh, somebody as, as a chief disaster response, uh, architect in, in all of these, in all of these efforts.
Robert Strock: (23:30)
Yeah. I, I, I wish I wish those powers, slash you, were there right now, you know, we’re in the process right now, and we do have some great support cuz we’re working on a county project and there are a couple of people within the county planning that are really supportive and excited about combining regenerative agriculture and, and homelessness. And so, there are some good people that are really there and I’m, I, I certainly, uh, support trying to work within the cooperative agencies, but to be able to have access to the emergency power is such a key thing that could change the situation because I’ve been screaming from the rooftops. There’s plenty of money. There’s plenty of land, plenty of money. It’s, it’s totally solvable problem. Even the housing is totally solvable, but, but the problem is the way that the housing is being built is costing, like you said, $550, $700,000 dollars a unit where it could, it can be done. And with, you know, there’s duplexes that are five bedroom, three baths, two story duplexes that can be built for a million dollars, a hundred thousand dollars per, per bedroom, where that could cover housing all over LA, its utterly doable. So, I just wanna reiterate how feasible what you’re saying is because it absolutely is feasible. Um, so what, what are the, what are the other plans in addition to homelessness that you’d want to emphasize?
Craig Greiwe: (24:52)
Well, certainly we have got to move forward on affordability. Uh, you know, you can’t have a city where according to a McKinsey Study, 70% of Angelenos are stretching to, to make their rents, right? Like that’s, it’s unsustainable, right? It’s impossible to, for most people to afford, to live in Los Angeles and that’s, as a result of, we don’t have inventory. Uh, we have built only 13% of our housing inventory in the last 30 years. Uh, when we, when you know, which means we’re not building for 1991, let alone 2021, right. It it’s impossible to build any, anything in this city, whether it’s affordable housing or market rate housing, it’s impossible to get anything done. So a complete and total reformation of how we approach building, we must build 500,000 additional units in Los Angeles, uh, to house, uh, the folks who live here to, to bring rents down as a percentage of income to try to get to the, the actual goal, which is that no one should have to pay more than 30% of their income in rent, uh, which is what the, the target, the economic target should be.
Craig Greiwe: (25:57)
Um, and so certainly merging building planning and safety, ensuring that we’re removing arcane regulations. Um, the zoning code has not been updated since the forties, right? So, you’re talking about the fact we, the, the city’s been like Re:code LA has been underway for a decade and we still yet roll out any recodings, all of those things. We would move quickly and expeditiously on so that we, we do complete an updated zoning code and we do move towards leadership across the city, in departmental agencies. These who are focused on building now, building ethically, building responsibly, building to where we are preserving historic communities, right. We can build everything we need without pricing people out of their communities or destroying neighborhoods. Um, and there’s plenty of space to do that. And plenty of individual ways to do that, uh, with live, work, play, uh, developments in latent industrial zones, touch zoning, which gives us increased density on major thoroughfares, but not in the neighborhoods behind them. Uh, so and transit oriented, uh, increased density. So, there’s all kinds of ways for us to go about building an affordable city, but we have got to build. And so that is a core tenant, uh, of, of my mayor platform, as well.
Robert Strock: (27:12)
Yeah. I mean, I, what you’re saying about the zoning and, and rezoning, which I know I’ve read, read some, some of what, what your proposals are, is utterly key because with, with the zoning being done, and I know you’ve emphasized not doing it in residential neighborhoods and, and being, and recognizing that there’s plenty of zoning in other areas to really accomplish this, the average Los Angeleno would have no idea how viable this is and why, what you’re emphasizing is, is so crucial and doable.
Craig Greiwe: (27:47)
Yeah. I mean the, at the end of the day, your rent doesn’t go up because your landlord raises your rent. Your rent goes up because there’s not enough capacity in the marketplace, right. Supply and demand. We have a broken relationship because we have no supply. We must build, there’s no functional relationship between supply and demand in Los Angeles, which has sent prices into the stratosphere. That’s impossible for anyone. And so that I think Angelenos understand, we most don’t think about how or why we get there. They just, they, they blame their landlord. But the reality is it’s not their landlord. It’s their failing city leadership. It is the fact that the, we simply have made it impossible to build. And there’s plenty, plenty of space to build. And if we just took all of the latent industrial zones alone, so unused industrial zones, nobody, you know, there’s one just down the street from me in Hancock Park, uh, nobody’s going to build a factory in Hancock Park, right? Like, so there’s no need for that industrial zone to continue to be zoned industrial. You create a live, work, play mixed-use development, um, that’s out, in that not breaking apart a single family home neighborhood, right. It’s in a latent industrial zone. You just took all of the latent industrial zones in the city, you’d be able to build all the housing you need without doing anything else. And yet we have all kinds of options on the table in addition to that.
Robert Strock: (28:58)
Yeah. I, I know I would like you to, uh, focus on two areas to fill in for the listener. One, one is the programming part of homelessness that, that you wanna, wanna address. And the other one is really moving into your policing platform, as well.
Craig Greiwe: (29:16)
Yeah. Well the, these go hand in hand, in fact, so, you know, everybody is talking and I’m, I’m sure will be talking for sometime about public safety and policing. And the reality is that the official statistic is that the police spend 34% of their time on, uh, the homeless issue, which means that we have taken the equivalent of 3,000 officers off the streets. If you cut a third of the police force at any major American city overnight, what do you think happens to crime? Right? The reality is that we are asking our police to do too much, including provide programming for the homeless, right? We’re asking them to be the resource, right? They’re not mental health experts, addiction experts. They, they’re, the, we are stretching our police too thin. We’re stretching them in every direction and asking them to be all things to all people.
Craig Greiwe: (30:07)
So, of course their response is we need more officers if you’re going to do that. But if we actually empower the police to just be the police, instead of being everything, then, then, then we’ve restored what they should be. And given them the bandwidth to engage with communities, to be a part of their communities, right? And that’s the number one way that we move forward in building and rebuilding trust among communities with the, the law enforcement agencies who serve them, is by giving those communities, officers who have the bandwidth to engage to be a part. So you’re not, you’re not just showing up every time there’s a problem you’re showing up as part of the community. And that goes hand in hand then, okay, we need programming for the homeless, right? Instead of having 3,000 officers deal with six 60,000 people, we need a, a peace corps, uh, throughout LA, a peace officer corps that is focused on, on violent dispute resolution and mental health addiction.
Craig Greiwe: (31:05)
All of the things, you know, does a, does a cop need to be at every fender bender? No, but so why are we asking them to, they don’t wanna be there either. Um, and so it is about, um, finding the right resources and fully funding, those resources, independent of law enforcement agencies. Right now the city keeps saying, well, let’s, let’s take some money out of law enforcement and fund a pilot program. And that, that, that does two things that are very bad. It pits people against each other, pits, these, these new resources that people need against the police as if they’re supposed to be in competition with each other. And then it also doesn’t fully fund these new resources, because as much as everyone talks about a housing first philosophy, it has to be a housing and services first, first philosophy, it’s got to go hand in hand and we’re not fully funding these services. And what we are funding, we’re not getting, you know, we’re prepaying services and then not mandating that people use them and people say, well, we’ve gotta stabilize somebody’s housing situation. Yes. But then you’ve gotta keep them housed. And you can only do that with proper programming that gives them the life skills that they need to get back on their feet and the resources they need to find a healthy life.
Robert Strock: (32:12)
And so, you’re talking about something equivalent to the Peace Corps, and I assume also some mental health to support the police as, as, and, and obviously some mental health to support the homeless programs as well. Right?
Craig Greiwe: (32:24)
Yeah. Yeah. I, I would, we, I generally refer to it as a Peace Officer Corps. Right. Um, and so yes, mental health, um, addiction experts, folks who are showing up where the police don’t need to show up, don’t want to show up, um, you know, folks that are designed to engage their communities. And certainly there are a lot of resources to tap into, we’d have, we’d have to find some, but there is certainly a lot. LA is home to the largest veteran population, um, in America, uh, LA city has around 200,000, LA county has 400,000 veterans. And certainly if you can do community engagement in Fallujah, you can do community engagement in the street of Los Angeles. And so, I think that’s the opportunity we have is to look at the populations and resources we have at our disposal to build community and engagement and resourcing. And then you bring on top of that experts in mental health and addiction and therapy, all of those elements.
Robert Strock: (33:12)
Yeah. And what I, what I see in your thinking is, is this holistic way of dealing with things, partnerships, cooperation, and also the willingness, if you have to, to take the power and, and, and to, to really take care of these situations on an emergency order. But I, I liked the fact that, that you’re really trying to emphasize cooperation between mental health and Peace Corps or, and, and the, uh, the police, et cetera, um, and really try everything you can to create partnerships and cooperation and unity, rather than us and them.
Craig Greiwe: (33:50)
Of course. And it’s, you know, this is that’s, that is the, the first, first thing we spoke about today, right. And in psycho-politics and in all these elements, right, which is, you’ve gotta look at your choices and your responsibility. You’ve gotta look at everybody else’s and you’ve gotta, you’ve got to realize we’re all in the same boat and make decisions together. And you’ve gotta bring people along and ideally in that situation, but certainly you can’t sit there and just wait. Um, and I think that if, if some folks are not willing to engage, not willing to support, uh, an ongoing, uh, inquiry, if they’re not willing to look beyond their own noses, you know, the, the number one thing that happens is there’s two people. When I talk to people who work in this, is two, is I get two responses. One of which is from frontline workers who say, absolutely, this can work. This, this, this is what’s necessary. And then you get institutionalist who say, no, well, this can never work this, I, I only know what I know. And I know this is the, this is the system that we need. Well, the system that spends $50,000 dollars a year, per person, without feeding, housing, or clothing them is not the system we need. And that is a direct result of people not engaging in any line of question around themselves or their choices. And that’s not a system we’re going to perpetuate under my administration.
Robert Strock: (35:08)
One, one of the big things that I think the population doesn’t understand, and there’s been numerous reports that have validated this, is that a person being on the streets right now that’s homeless is costing the, the government $3,000 dollars a month. And that’s in emergency care, police care, crime disease. And that the housing itself will, will be able to take care of them for that amount or less, let alone, let alone what they can create if when they’re given work opportunities and, and training that it could actually turn it around, it starts there and then it can get better.
Craig Greiwe: (35:46)
Yeah. I mean, uh, everybody says, oh, well this disaster, this crisis, fixing this crisis is essential, but it’s also an investment. We want these people to be productive working members of society, Los Angeles had a net outflow in its population for the first time in its history. Um, over the last, over the last year, that’s insane. We’re losing a congressional seat. We’re losing our seats at the table, right. Because we are losing population. So, I welcome productive, working, contributing members of society. We’ve got to help people get there and we’ve gotta help people go on that journey. And yes, it’s cost effective to do so. Uh, the reality is if you’re talking a third of the police budget, uh, plus the loss of budget, plus the, uh, H uh, you know, the H funds, plus the city budgeting, you’re talking, the, the LA is spending 4 to 5 billion a year on this problem and not making any progress that’s, that’s nonsense, right? Like ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. It’s just nonsense.
Robert Strock: (36:51)
Yeah. I can fully validate that from my end of the experience. Um, is there any other part of your platform that you really want to get, get in? So, the public can really know about it?
Craig Greiwe: (37:03)
Well, I think the last piece is certainly, uh, the issue of corruption and it’s not just the three city council members who’ve been indicted in the last, uh, two years. It is, um, it is really the institutionalization and legalization of corruption pay to play of all of these things. Uh, a third of city council is under federal investigation on top of the three that are already indicted, right? It, it’s, it’s really making all politics local again, you know, our city council is the same size it was in 1925. This isn’t the Los Angeles of 1925. We need to triple the size of city council mandate that no city council member can represent more than a hundred thousand people. We need to remove the power of incumbency. We, we need to remove city council members arbitrary control over their districts. We need to remove the appointments power from city council members, so that they’re no longer, uh, using political favors for appointments, commissions and things like that.
Craig Greiwe: (37:59)
Uh, we need to remove their ability to spend discretionary funds on personal branding. Uh, I, nobody’s benefiting by, uh, you know, a candidate handing out coffee mugs with his name on it, right? So we, we need to remove the power of incumbency and restore local politicking, um, in order to end corruption in this city. And we need to have zero tolerance for corruption. It’s insane to me that a, a sitting member of city council was indicted and three other city council members did, voted to allow him to keep his job, to keep his power. How could anyone make that decision?
Robert Strock: (38:37)
Yeah. One of the things that I really like about your emphasis, which I think is the key to implementing this change, cuz it could sound idealistic if you, if this element that you’ve emphasized so much is not, uh, let’s say implemented, which is transparency. That, that what, what I’ve seen in the homeless situation is there’s an utter lack of transparency as to where the money’s going. But being, being, let’s say, uh, coordinator of transparency in, in the various elements of the city government is seems to me the fundamental thing that will allow the things you’re talking about to have a real chance of happening
Craig Greiwe: (39:20)
Radical transparency. People deserve to know who their leaders are, talking to what they’re saying, where the money is going and when it’s coming back to them, because the reality is that every dollar that we pay in taxes should be coming back to us in the form of services and a full functioning city that works for us instead of breaking people down. That’s the city that I want to build.
Robert Strock: (39:41)
Yeah. I, and I wanna ask you another question that in some ways you’ve answered most of it, but I, I want to give you another chance to kind of go at it, which is how much have you been affected both personally and practically in your thinking by the current state of global warming, economic inequality, terrorism, corruption, and what do you see as being your best strategy to really put out the right messaging and then the right actions, you know, when you actually have the chance to implement it?
Craig Greiwe: (40:12)
I think that we like every Angeleno, we, we are all impacted everyday by this. Um, I, you’d be hard pressed to find somebody who doesn’t know somebody who hasn’t been robbed. Uh, my partner was just robbed the other day. Um, and you know, we’d be hard pressed to see somebody who isn’t suffering from or seeing, or knows someone who’s suffering from the effects of the, the deep state of being equality that we have. Right. We talk about, uh, racial justice, which we’ve made in social justice, which we’ve made so little, if any progress on we don’t ever talk about economic injustice and economic justice and, and what that means and how to Institute it. And I see that, right. I’ve struggled with it my entire life. I, and, and I, and I continue to, to do so. And I think that’s, I, you know, I look at this and I’m running for mayor and you don’t get paid to run for mayor, right?
Craig Greiwe: (41:04)
Like, it’s like, how do you afford to live? How do we create a system where people can, can afford to engage with, with the, with their leadership, with their city, right? Like we hold city council meetings at a time when people have jobs and they have to show up for them. Right. We put the burden, needs to be on the, on, on elected officials, in leadership to engage the public, not on the public to engage. So that is really the challenge that I face every single day financially in, uh, in I’m the only candidate who’s not living off of the government while or personal billions while running for office. Right. Like, so I, you know, it’s, I impact that everyday, I see it everyday and I’m sure everyone else does as well.
Robert Strock: (41:46)
And, and, uh, it would be probably an oversight not to deal with how you would respond to COVID assuming that, obviously it’s a wrong assumption, but assuming things were as they are today, uh, what would be some of your orientations around COVID and how you would try to influence things in the city?
Craig Greiwe: (42:08)
We have got to be honest with people about what’s happening. We can keep projecting an air of certainty, but we aren’t. And we keep doing it without being honest about what’s happening. Is it really helping anyone where you don’t wear a mask outside, then you put it on to walk 10 feet from the front door of a restaurant to your table, and then you sit there for two hours unmasked, and then you put the mask on to walk back out again. Nobody’s gonna tell me that that’s making a boatload of difference in what we’re doing. So, let’s be honest with people about what policies we’re putting in place. What’s acknowledged where the burdens are. Um, you know, I think first and foremost we need, that’s where we need to start. We need to, and then we need to focus on, on encouraging folks to make the choice to get vaccinated and to get their booster shots, um, vaccines work.
Craig Greiwe: (42:53)
But we were never honest about the most vulnerable populations in doing that. Uh, you know, one in 26, people in Brentwood had COVID at the height of COVID, the COVID crisis, and one in two people in Boyle Heights had it. Okay. But we wouldn’t talk about that. We wouldn’t zone things accordingly and target resources and target distrust. Why don’t people wanna take a vaccine, studies show that when you engage people and you understand them and you, you understand their objections and you deal and address with their objections, their hesitancy comes down. They begin to trust, or they begin to engage broad mandates to say, well, everybody do this, everybody do that. Doesn’t solve anything. All it does is create more divisiveness. I would focus on actual, on actual programs that drive up our vaccination rates that drive public health. And then we need to acknowledge what in reality is ultimately gonna happen.
Craig Greiwe: (43:41)
And this is, we’re not talking about this with the public, which is the fact that in all likelihood, when I speak with public health professionals, folks, who’ve been on the front lines of COVID who’ve intubated thousands of patients, right? Who’ve been in the ER, the general agreement is that COVID will be with us, forever. It, it, it just is going to become a part and parcel with our flu shots every year to get a booster shot for COVID. And we encourage, you know, the flu was killing 50 to 70,000 people a year, um, every flu season before COVID. And we would encourage people to get their flu shots. And some people would, some people wouldn’t, people would get seriously ill. Some people would die. Some people would get lightly ill, but we have to acknowledge reality that COVID is going to be with us forever. And we’ve got to then acknowledge what we need to do about that as a society to keep people safe while keeping the economy functioning, cuz there’s no world in which we shut down again.
Robert Strock: (44:33)
And when you talk about really influencing people to sort of face the reality and the inequalities, et cetera, are you, I’m, I’m assuming implicitly from what you’re saying, that you’re really gonna bring, bring in the medical experts to, to really be partnering with and, and, and promoting them in the public so that they really have more access to it. But please don’t let me put words in your mouth.
Craig Greiwe: (44:57)
No, of course. And that’s the thing you, but you gotta bring, you gotta bring experts in that people trust. You’ve gotta talk to people in ways that they’re ready to hear. Right. Nobody’s looking to, and with all due respect to Dr. Ferris, nobody’s looking to her as a voice of, of reason in Boyle Heights, nobody’s saying, what did Dr. Ferris say about what I should do in my COVID response? So, we’ve gotta look at who these folks who are not getting vaccinated, who are at, who are our most marginalized communities, gotta look at who they trust. And we’ve gotta bring in those voices of reason in science, in culture, in pop culture. And in, we’ve gotta talk to people in a language that they’re willing to hear, not in the language that we want them to hear. So, standing behind a podium with a tie, but bemoaning the fact that more people need to get vaccinated or, or, or yelling at people that this is dangerous, isn’t getting us anywhere.
Robert Strock: (45:44)
Yeah. And, and I know at LAUSD and, and, and the, the schools in general are, are really implementing some, some of the most, um, let’s say proactive approaches to safety. Um, do you have any tweaks from that? Or, or, or how do you. . .
Craig Greiwe: (46:00)
We could do a whole separate podcast on LAUSD? I think LAUSD does some wonderful things and the sheer number of people that they fed during the pandemic and this year number of households that they kept feeding in the pandemic. And then they also lost thousands of students. They have done nothing to address the learning gap, this, this constant hybrid cycle of, you know, of kids in school, out of school at, you know LAUSD is, uh, is, uh, is a blight upon this city, um, at the moment. And yes, they do do some positive things and are proactive in terms of, um, how they’re trying to address, uh, testing and requirements, but more blanket policies from a dysfunctional system that would be an entire other hour-long conversation. I’m, I’m sorry to say.
Robert Strock: (46:48)
Okay, fair enough. And, and I wanted to just at least acknowledge that we, we met through, uh, Rising Together and, and, and you really trying to bring candidates into the, into Los Angeles that would be LA City Council plus, and maybe just give a little, little bit of that, because I found that so inspiring to really implement, implement, not only the mayor, but, but also the infrastructure of the city.
Craig Greiwe: (47:13)
Yeah. Anyone who’s says that they’re, they alone are going to solve a problem is lying to you, right. You’ve gotta have experts, and I’m, I’m grateful to have several that are supporting me and you’ve gotta have other elected officials. I built Rise Together, in fact, so that I, so that anyone would be able to run for office from a common ground point of view. For so often we feel like the extremes are controlling the conversation and shouting at each other, right. That’s what it feels like. And the reality is that 85% of people share common ground in the middle. So, Rise Together was built to give those folks a home and to amplify their voice. And I’m proud to say that it has become the fastest growing movement and is a strong, viable, independent focus on common ground in LA with its own independent leadership now, uh, on amplifying the voices of common ground.
Speaker 3: (47:55)
Great. Well, before, before we sign off, I wanna make, give you a chance to, to go in any other direction that you don’t feel like we’ve we’ve gone, or any other message that you wanna end with.
Craig Greiwe: (48:05)
No, I think certainly that’s it. If I encourage folks to go to craigformayor.com and explore our platforms, explore our policies, follow us on socials at “CraigForMayorLA,” uh, FOR. So “CraigForMayorLA” on any platform. Um, and you’ll see what we stand for. Uh, the reality is that this city, we cannot trust the people who created our problems to be the people who solved them. I am not a career politician. I am a professional problem solver. It’s literally what I’ve been doing since the day I was, uh, abandoned at the age of 14 and, and been doing for multinational companies and startups everywhere in between. And it’s those practical solutions. I, I welcome people to come to the campaign and I hope that they’ll support, uh, and, and vote, uh, in June, uh, with, and, and, you know, that’s the truest test of any of any my message, right? It was people, uh, people speak with their votes. And that’s really all we’re asking is that people be aware about that. We’re all in the same boat together, and we’re not gonna get out of this problem unless we choose a new direction.
Robert Strock: (49:01)
Well, it’s been very inspiring and, uh, hopeful as someone who’s been very involved in, in the city and especially in the area of homelessness, it, it, it would be such a, uh, inspirational sign and touching sign for Los Angeles, a practical sign for Los Angeles to be able to have something that would be transparent, and that would be practical. And that would take advantage of someone who has gone through the suffering and still inside you to be able to identify with a common man, uh, and woman, you know, and child and everyone in Los Angeles. So I, I wish you the very best, and I really appreciate you coming on the show. And thank, thanks so much for giving us your platform and a bit more about who you are.
Craig Greiwe: (49:46)
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me and thank you for, uh, having these conversations. They’re, they’re essential for everyone.
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