By Nick Antonicello
There will be a successful recall of Councilman Mike Bonin (CD-11) and the reasons are in the dozens, but with just a few days before the signatures are submitted, here is a clear and concise list of reasons that neighborhoods like Venice have seen and had enough:
- The cost of Mike Bonin far exceeds any perceived value in governance. At $300,000 annually when all considered, Mike Bonin is the highest paid councilman in the United States. He makes more than Vice-President Kamala Harris, Governor Gavin Newsom, every other state governor as well as all one hundred US Senators and all 435 US Representatives.
- Mike Bonin lacks the temperament to govern. AN unapologetic “Machiavellian” in every way, Bonin refuses to acknowledge those who disagree with him, even if they represent a majority of residents when it comes to rampant homelessness, rising crime and the lost quality-of-life we have witnessed over this term of office. His assessment that he’s the smartest guy in the room syndrome has become emblematic of his inability to build consensus or compromise. His constant attacks of NIMBY or Bonin’s allies describing Venetians as “segregationists” are not only false, but fly in the face of honest and open government, and a discussion of his failed public policy initiatives.
- In too long, time to go! Mike Bonin was awarded an additional 18 months in office or $500,000 in public income and benefits. This extension of this term of office has further fueled the animosity to his failed policies because voters had no say in this affront to our local democracy. While there are those critical of the recall, they give Bonin a free pass on this 18-month extension of office with no input from CD-11 residents.
- Mike Bonin and Mark Ridley-Thomas, perfect together! Councilman Bonin is such an embedded downtown insider, he was one of just three council members to vote to continue to pay indicted council colleague Ridley-Thomas his gargantuan public salary despite the fact Ridley-Thomas had no intention of performing his duties! Ridley-Thomas was indicted by the Biden Justice Department for trying to bribe USC officials to award his hapless son, a disgraced former member of the California legislature under suspicion of sexual harassment, for a job and scholarship to attend the university! Birds of a feather flocking together!
- Bonin “flip-flops” on LAPD. Bonin’s lurch to the extreme left became evident when he decided that out-of-district socialists and disrupters were more important than public safety for residents when he voting to defund police officers $150,000,000 in the middle of a pandemic while surrendering to out-of-state transients, drug addicts, alcoholics and other criminals instead of having the back of those sworn to protect and serve. Bonin’s lack of support for the LAPD contributed to the spike in crime, especially here in Venice.
- Bonin’s inability to work with other elected officials to get things done. Bonin declared war on LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva by refusing to assist the county’s top elected law enforcement official representing some 10 million people in his successful cleanup of the Venice Boardwalk and beach that finally led to the removal of hundreds of encampments Bonin refused to acknowledge or remove that led to the burning down of a 6,000 square-foot commercial property to say nothing of the millions of dollars in damages of public property and loss of dozens of retailers that were force to close because of the inaction of Bonin and city officials.
- Bonin’s Bridge Housing Blunder. Despite warnings by Venetians that the Main Street locale for bridge housing would be an unmitigated disaster, Bonin ignored the wishes of Venice locals that has created this ghetto and slum that has seen encampments plague that neighborhood for months coupled with numerous breakouts of COVID-19. Bonin’s homelessness inaction has turned Venice into a virtual “containment zone” as Venice has become “Ground Zero” for homelessness and has the largest homeless population in all of Los Angeles with the exception of downtown’s Skid Row!
- Bonin’s pursuit of additional recreational locales for more homeless encampments. Mike Bonin wants to do to the rest of the 11th Council District what he has done to Venice. Parks, parcels and other recreational facilities have been invaded by the homeless and there not-for-profit supporters to turn other locations into another Venice. Thankfully, the LA City Council has stepped up and blocked to bring Bonin’s failed encampments to Marina del Rey and the Palisades.
- Out of sight, failing to address the issues of rampant homelessness, rising crime and our quality-of-life in a serious way. No matter where you travel in CD-11, the homeless are on the streets and that presence has a direct correlation to rising crime, a fact Mike Bonin will not acknowledge nor accept. When encampments were removed at Oceanfront Walk, there was a dramatic decrease in crime in our community and Bonin just refuses to accept the reality that his inaction and lack of a strategy or plan on how to deal with homelessness will be his failed legacy. Mike Bonin fundamentally believes the homeless have a right to live on the streets, disrupt our communities, serve as a threat to our neighborhoods and be an obstacle to the re-opening of our public schools. Most importantly, Mike Bonin has been invisible in Venice as residents continue to call and e-mail his office and staff that refuse to engage the public as his office has become a revolving door of bureaucrats and political operatives that do not live in the district, much less Venice.
- Bonin’s bashing of a legitimate and bipartisan recall drive that will succeed. Mike Bonin’s paid operatives have been intimidating recall volunteers at various venues desperately trying to change the narrative in these final days of signature gathering. Instead of waiting for the recall process to play itself out, Bonin “bashing” has been obvious and evident by many of his campaign workers trying to disrupt the signature gathering process. Bonin tries to describe the recall as a “right-wing” conspiracy when in fact nearly 70% of those voters who agreed to sign the petition are registered Democrats, and the leaders of the recall movement; Venice residents Nico Ruderman, a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council and Katrina Schmitt are both Democrats and former supporters of Mr. Bonin’s previous council campaigns.
This week the signature gathering phase of the recall will end when recall supporters will serve the LA City Clerk’s Office with those petitions.
For the arguments as to why Mike Bonin should be recalled will cease and this will be all about the math.
Mike Bonin has already begun his demagoguery of the process and many believe he will do all he can from a legal standpoint to contest this grass roots effort!
The people of the 11th District have spoken loud with Venice leading the way.
Democracy will be better off when average citizens can successfully fight City Hall and remove an individual from office who does not represent or care what the majority of people seek and desire in an effective council member who listens, learns and cooperates with the very people he represents.
For that just has not been the case when it comes to the tenure and term of office of Mr. Bonin.
The writer is a member of the Outreach, Parking, Oceanfront Walk and Rules & Selections Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via-email at firstname.lastname@example.org