By Nick Antonicello
There’s an old saying in politics, and that is “you can’t beat somebody with nobody.”
And with current incumbent LA Councilman Mike Bonin (CD-11), you have the quintessential political insider and darling of the downtown status quo.
A two-term incumbent who has fallen upon hard political times with his radical ideas that right is somehow wrong and wrong has now become right – The result of these wrong-headed policies has decimated our neighborhoods with a growing homeless epidemic in the thousands as our public spaces have been taken hostage by criminals and transients – 50% of all crime here in Venice is now homeless related!
There isn’t a place in LA with more homeless than Venice except skid row downtown and Mike Bonin seems perfectly content with that reality.
But despite the fact Bonin is a wounded incumbent of sorts with a tough race ahead of him as well as a second recall attempt complicating his future, he is a smart and savvy Harvard-educated political operative and organizer and will do all that is necessary to retain this seat he inherited from the late Bill Rosendahl nearly a decade ago.
Bonin’s first two races were sleepy, no-contest affairs as he was challenged by underfunded and unknown opponents.
Mike had all the support and all the downtown money.
It was Rosendahl who cleared the field and succeeding Bill became his destiny by right!
While I clearly don’t like Mike, the residents of District 11 need a viable and compelling alternative, someone who can beat him.
The angst and opposition to The Councilman is wide and deep.
It has become almost organic in places like Venice where store merchants post their opposition openly and with fierce hostility.
In too long, out of touch and time to go for Mr. Bonin.
For Mike will never resign, and a recall is possible, but reelection remains at this point remote.
So after the disastrous road diets and this explosion of homelessness now spreading to the rest of the district, the past support Bonin enjoyed in places like Brentwood and the Palisades seems to be crumbling and bursting at the political seams.
The need for “new Leadership” and calls for change are obvious, but who has the community support, resume and record of results that can defeat a partisan, professional politician the likes of Mr. Bonin?
Enter Venice resident and attorney Traci Park.
I took the time to visit www.tracipark.com and while most political websites are flowery presentations long on rhetoric and short on specifics, this site really said nothing at all.
And while I don’t know Traci Park, she is a political novice with no real community advocacy or service … is she really the ticket to take out a Mike Bonin?
And the fact Mike Bonin isn’t mentioned once on her website is downright strange and disturbing. More so was the total lack of plans or proposals worth repeating here regarding rampant homelessness and rising crime.
Will Traci Park clean up the Boardwalk and the encampments here in Venice?
Yes or no?
Will she work with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and set a deadline to remove the encampments so that business can be reimagined, restored and revived there?
Yes or no?
Bluntly speaking, what is her plan for a safe, clean and vibrant Venice Beach?
Having lived here for 30 years, I have never heard of her until her name recently surfaced as a potential candidate.
Has she ever been to a meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council?
Has she served on a committee?
Done a neighborhood clean-up?
What is her actual record of community, volunteer service?
For if the solution for beating and replacing a career politician like Bonin is with an unknown lawyer like Park, that logic seems too easy, and probably out of the realm of probability.
For here comes the new boss, same as the old one?
She describes herself as an environmental activist — and it would have helped if any reference to that activism was made available for voters to judge for themselves!
It’s nice to know she loves our beloved Lakers and Dodgers, but if that is the prerequisite for public office, everyone in the 11th CD would qualify for what would be an extremely crowded race.
What was even more interesting was the address of her campaign noted on the site.
The address of a Sacramento-based political operation versus a local address, here in Venice — or an address somewhere in the district would suffice!
For there are more than enough lawyers in politics and government, nothing new or different here!
And Mike Bonin didn’t lose a cent of his gargantuan public salary during COVID-19 totaling to the tune of $300,000, more than any council member in the United States and more than any of the 50 state governors as well as the entire US Senate and House of Representatives!
So what does Mike Bonin or Traci Park for that matter have in common with average residents and voters?
Two ambitious millionaires, one who has failed in his public service, and the other who has no public service worth mentioning?
In the case of Mike Bonin it’s failed public policy gone astray and run amok.
In the case of Traci Park, “where’s the beef?”
The author is a member of the Outreach, Parking and Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org