Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend a pair of Southland fundraisers Wednesday in support of his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
According to various reports, Biden will attend a midday fundraising event at the Los Angeles home of UCLA School of Medicine faculty member Dr. Cynthia Telles and her husband, media executive Joe Waz.
Biden is later scheduled to attend an evening fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of James Costos, the U.S. ambassador to Spain during President Barack Obama's administration, and his husband, designer Michael Smith.
Film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg is among those listed as a co-host of the event, along with producer/businessman Peter Chernin and director Rob Reiner. Katzenberg also hosted an October fundraiser in Beverly Hills on behalf of Biden's political action committee, American Possibilities. Biden spoke at that event.
Tickets to the Wednesday evening fundraiser cost $2,800, which includes a photo reception with Biden. Becoming a co-host of the event costs $10,000, according to an invitation obtained by The Washington Post.
Wednesday's fundraising swing will be Biden's first since formally throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination. It also comes one day ahead of a planned Southland appearance by another Democrat with White House aspirations -- South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg is expected to attend a rally with various union members in support of a proposed parcel tax on the June 4 ballot to raise funds for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Biden's midday Wednesday appearance will be met by a protest by members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers -- an unusual circumstance for a notoriously pro-union politician. The union is looking to gain Biden's backing in a continuing labor dispute with Kaiser Permanente. Telles sits on the board of directors of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.
NUHW staged a five-day strike at Kaiser facilities in December, contending the dispute is focused on under-staffing that forces mental-health patients "to wait months to see their therapists." Kaiser has rebuffed that claim, insisting the union is not concerned about access to care, but about higher wages and increased benefits. Hospital officials said in December the union's demands "would reduce, not increase, the availability of mental health care for our members."
In a statement Tuesday, NUHW President Sal Rosselli said Biden "has the chance to do the right thing by standing with Kaiser clinicians and patients committed to making Kaiser provide timely and adequate care."