By Nick Antonicello
The annual National Night out against Crime held Tuesday evening is a way for LAPD and other first responders to engage the community and offer a family fun evening for residents and their children that build better neighborhoods.
The Pacific Division is some 25 square miles in size and has a population of 200,000 and is under the jurisdiction of the Operations West Bureau which is responsible for Venice, Oakwood, Mar Vista, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista, Palms and Westchester, all neighborhoods that compose the 11th Council District represented by Councilman Mike Bonin.
It was a three-hour event in which hundreds gathered to speak with LAPD, California Highway Patrol, LAPD Cadets, LAFD Fire Station #63, Pacific Area Boosters, LASD, Venice Neighborhood Council, Nourish LA, the FBI and many other local community organizations both public and private.
The sponsors were numerous such as Ben & Jerry’s, SUBWAY, Clutch, Cantalini’s The Butcher’s Daughter, The Waterfront, Baja Cantina, the Pier House and several others.
It was a true community event designed to bring people closer in these difficult and challenging times and several hundred attended as they displayed support for our public safety partners.
The LAPD’s Pacific Division was in full force as residents got the chance to ask questions about those issues of the day like rampant homelessness and rising crime that have plagued our neighborhoods for some time.
It was a positive and uplifting event, but the question needs to be asked: where was Mike Bonin?
Here you have a controversial incumbent in the throw of another potential recall attempt with an opportunity to speak and engage the people at Penmar Park and he doesn’t attend?
Not only does he not attend, he had no presence at all.
No booth, no apparent sponsorship or endorsement of an event most elected officials would naturally attend, why not support and engage people once again as they make their way back in the public square of sorts?
Where was Mike?
For his absence was obvious and conspicuous, the duly elected representative of this council district can’t put this on his schedule, this meet and greet with the constituents that pay his fairly large salary to the tune of nearly $300,000 annually – more than any state governor?
For what could have been more important than to display public support to our first responders and an array of volunteers and community activists who do the heavy lifting and have a true stake in the community?
One wonders how a councilman would pass on the opportunity to speak with residents and voters, or at least have a presence at the event with members of his staff to field questions and offer support for something that is meaningful which is community engagement of the neighborhoods Mike represents downtown.
For it is moments such as this when one wonders just who does Mike Bonin represent?
Does one need to be a transient to get Mike’s attention?
Does one need to be an out-of-district political activist who calls for the defunding of the LAPD or a hold a general disposition that is against law and order and police officers in general?
With many of the beach encampments moved this week, wouldn’t have this been an opportunity to give an update on that action?
Why miss an opportunity to speak directly to residents and talk about the solutions Mike emphasizes about all of the time?
For many in attendance asked the same question, where was Mike?
For the tenure of Mike Bonin is indeed complicated and hard to explain.
His ascension to political office was guided by the late Bill Rosendahl, but his actions and policies have become at the least controversial and head-scratching at best.
So as the community gathered, Mike stayed away.
For one must wonder: why a “no-show” at an event so obvious and logical; in his capacity as a public servant and elected official?
People need to be able to talk to the person who represents them on the LA City Council.
It’s a “win-win” proposition. The resident gets to vent, praise or suggest while the elected official gets an unvarnished pulse of the people they represent.
Part of doing your job as a councilman is to talk to those you represent, to listen and learn what the people are thinking.
Public service means engaging those you represent in a manner people expect.
Is it too much to ask to stop by and say hello?
Say it isn’t so Mike Bonin!
Nick Antonicello is a member of the Oceanfront Walk, Parking and Outreach 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