Jamie Paige, Special to the Daily Press

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder’s walking tour in Venice ended early Wednesday after an abrasive confrontation by a group of homeless people and advocates.

Venice resident Soledad Ursua organized the scheduled tour. Ursua was accompanied by Venice resident Chie Lunn, a mother and teacher who has been passionate about speaking out about the safety of children in the community, and Rick Swinger, an activist who has been vocal about the impact encampments have on the environment, specifically the ocean.

The tour started on Sunset and Hampton Avenue, near the Venice Bridge home in the Special Enforcement Cleaning Zone (SECZ).

Several men dressed in blue, all with bandanas covering their faces, as well as a woman in a gorilla mask riding a bicycle, started yelling racial slurs and at one point threw an object at Elder’s head.

“This is what residents in the area deal with on a day-to-day basis said Ursua. “People come and go, but this is what residents face every day [referring to push back from advocacy groups].”

One homeless person on 3rd Avenue said tours like these are all for a show. “Most of us have been in and out of room key [referring to project Room Key], and now we have nowhere else to go. Where do they think we can go?”

After the foot tour, Elder held press interviews in the safety of his campaign bus.

A longtime conservative talk radio host in Los Angeles, Elder said he isn’t a stranger to public opinion and pushback. “I’ve been called worse by better,” he said when asked about the confrontation.

When explicitly asked about the numerous racial attacks during his walk Elder told reporters that: “If I didn’t care about black people, I wouldn’t be here. Black and brown are getting the worst of the worst. Forty percent of the homeless are black. I do believe that the impact of the poor quality of education disproportionately hurts Black and brown people. Crime disproportionately affects people living in the inner city, many of whom are the Black and brown people that the left claims that they care about.”

Elder spoke directly about the impact the homeless crisis was having on the community. “This is a moral and health crisis that needs to be solved. The government has proven to be ineffective in dealing with homelessness, and it needs to be fixed.”

Elder said he supports Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s idea of declaring a statewide emergency [when it comes to homelessness] to free up resources. “I think it’s a wonderful idea. I also want to declare a statewide emergency on housing so I can build low-cost housing. I’d look at the same for the homeless crisis.”

Elder pointed out that the average cost of a home in California is 150 percent above the national average. “Middle-class people are leaving California at a high rate. The same goes for small businesses. That means we are losing good-paying jobs.”

Elder also said he is in favor of forensic accounting when it comes to mismanagement of spending. “I’m in favor of accountability of the homeless industrial complex.”

Although not talked about during his tour, one central point Newsome is pushing back on is Elder’s promise to repeal vaccine verification for health care workers and mask mandates in schools and workplaces.

Alluding to Elder’s opposition to such mandates, Newsom said on Wednesday on a tour with Vice President Kamala Harris that Elder would “walk us off that same Covid cliff as Texas, and Florida, Tennessee and Alabama and Georgia.”

Elder is leading the latest polls for challengers in the election. Election day is Sept. 14.

This story was published in partnership with the Westside Current.