By Nick Antonicello
The boardwalk at Venice Beach became a PR paradise for controversial Councilman Mike Bonin on Saturday as a re-opening of sorts was staged for various activities that were closed due to COVID-19, as well as the failed encampment policies of Mike that turned this popular tourist destination into the personal venue for transients, drug addicts, alcoholics and the high crime that comes with tolerating such nonsense for more than two years.
For the first time in a long time, the paddle courts were running at full capacity as well as the basketball courts with organized games like we were used to in the past to say nothing of the clean and re-tooled hand ball courts that for over a year were occupied by tents, drugs and trouble.
And while the workout pit remains closed for a third consecutive summer, new equipment is beginning to populate the gated area as suddenly things seem to be returning to normal, whatever that could mean when it comes to Venice Beach.
There were booths and tents along with a stage that greeted for the most part tourists and the regulars who play hoops and the other activities that one expects to be open and operational on this cloudy Saturday morning.
I received a text that Bonin was at the beach, so I figured I would try to track him down and get his take on the renaissance that seems to be occurring but I did not see him.
The Venice Neighborhood Council and other community groups and public agencies and alike greeted the sparsely attended event that despite one’s politics was clearly the shot in the arm the boardwalk truly needs these days.
The cleanup of encampments is a welcoming sign as to get the boardwalk jump-started in the waning days of summer 2021, but what happens when we roll into the fall?
Will the place remain habitable and welcoming?
More importantly, what portion of federal dollars will be designated in actually making the necessary infrastructure investment the boardwalk demands and deserves after years of neglect and deterioration?
Few restrooms, little if any real maintenance and a plethora of empty storefronts litter what is a destination that hasn’t seen any real capital improvements since 2000 when Democrats held their convention here some two decades ago.
But the money tree of funding from the Biden Administration is coming, to say nothing of expenditure set asides in the current municipal budget dedicated to combating homelessness and since Venice is second only to skid row in tolerating this moral scourge, is Mr. Bonin fighting for our fair share of funding to transform the boardwalk back to a place of commerce, tourism and local pride?
For the irony at the boardwalk is the fact the mess that became Venice Beach was created by Mike Bonin and his failed policy of determining that Dog Town should become a “containment zone” for other neighborhoods that are more hostile to these “neighbors” and too affluent to be considered as targets of homeless encampments moving forward.
Surely pockets of luxury like the Pacific Palisades would never tolerate in a million years nor accept; any Bonin mandates for homeless encampments much less a venue for permanent, supportive housing.
The notion of sending the homeless packing to the Palisades resulted in a near revolution of opposition by the filthiest of the rich!
For let’s face it; money talks and bullshit walks.
And when you have the ultimate bullshit artist in Mike Bonin as your councilman, he even knows when to back off and back down!
So while some kitchen crumbs were dusted upon Venice today as some semblance of normalcy actually prevailed, are we to congratulate this recall prone incumbent for finally solving the problem he created in the first place?
Why was a problem in which Bonin created allowed to unravel so out-of-control only to be remedied in a few weeks thanks to the intervention of LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and a very angry collective mob known as Venice Beach?
It is this “why” question that has most Venetians perplexed and disturbed.
And it was this very question I was going to ask the good councilman if he was willing to chat for a moment.
And now that Bonin has rediscovered Venice, I won’t need to order that compass for him to find his way west on AMAZON.
The author is a member of the Oceanfront, Outreach & Parking Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org