May 27, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Opinion: “Millionaire Mike”

A myth and legend of the left, what does Bonin actually have in common with LA’s homeless?

By Nick Antonicello 

Piper French’s piece on LA Councilman Mike Bonin that appeared in the liberal left publication The Nation (An LA Councilman Tried to Help the Homeless. Now He May Lose His Job), tells a partial truth of the record and policies of this embedded downtown insider now fighting off a second recall effort based on his inability to solve the issue of rampant homeless encampments that have littered the Westside and specifically Venice while failing to give credit to LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the actual reason why Venice Beach was cleaned up after years of inaction by the controversial two-term incumbent now seeking a third term in the midst of a signature drive to remove him from office. 

For the article serves as a political narrative of a socialist in trouble, a venue to nationalize a race in the face of widespread criticism of his record that resulted in some 70% of all signatures gathered coming from registered Democrats, and not from these phantom Trump followers that Bonin uses as a political boogeyman that doesn’t exist here in Venice or LA’s Westside. 

For the myth of Mike Bonin is galvanized by his supporters that because he slept in his car a few nights three decades ago he understands the plight and challenge of today’s chronic homeless population that has exploded on his watch as a councilman in the 11th CD. 

That Mike Bonin alone after nearly a decade in office is the only individual qualified to solve the homeless dilemma he helped create in the first place. 

It is a myth that is wearing thin when nearly 40,000 of his constituents have had enough and seek a structural and fundamental change by endorsing this second recall attempt. 

And while the myth of Bonin is indeed being questioned and challenged, those who fundamentally believe that leaving thousands on the street to live is not an answer as the Bonin forces extend their political proposition that those who oppose these failed ideas are somehow driven by race versus the notion that right is now becoming wrong and wrong is now right in the “Bizarro” world that is Mike Bonin. 

For the article correctly asserts that recall efforts against local officials like Mike Bonin are in indeed few and far between, and that it must be his failed record that is driving this reality of a recall and nothing else. 

For Bonin believes that criminal transients not from California that have populated LA and specifically Venice Beach are our neighbors, free of any accountability for their bad behavior and the rest of us are just racists, NIMBY or segregationists that hate the homeless. 

His endorsers forget to mention that 50% of the homeless equation here in CD-11 populate Venice, the largest pool of unhoused individuals in LA with the exception of Skid Row. 

For the Bonin claim of white wealth is the source of opposition is not only false, but a tired narrative that is collapsing under the weight of the truth that people just want safe and clean streets, a place to walk their dog and not be accosted by the reality that the inmates have taken over the asylum with Bonin’s approving endorsement.  

Ironically, this notion that “white homeowners with resources” are driving the recall effort when in fact Bonin himself is exactly that, a white millionaire with tremendous influence, resources and political power unrestrained. 

For Bonin is politically embedded, just one of fifteen affluent and detached council members unchallenged, and they do as they please. 

For Bonin is a Boise Avenue resident in the affluent Mar Vista neighborhood  and apparently owns several other properties as well. According to ZILLOW, the highest paid councilman in the United States (Bonin earns more than Vice-President Kamala Harris, US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Gavin Newsom as well as every other US governor and member of Congress), values that home at $1,788,300, hardly a “modest” property by any standard. 

ZILLOW also estimates the rental income potential at $5,000 per month and since last purchased in 2014, it has increased in value some $730,000!

And according to Property Shark, the assessed value is $1,155,149 and the taxes on the property are nearly $14,000 annually. 

The home was purchased in 2014 for roughly $1,000,000. 

Yet the Bonin narrative points at some time in his life as “housing insecure,” and close to homelessness,” but almost “only” seems to count with horse shoes and hand grenades, as this longtime city employee and elected official has been on the payroll of the City of Los Angeles since 1996 or 25 years of being a well-compensated, six-figure city official with free health benefits and a handsome pension upon his retirement from this public service. 

How many others do you know once “close to homelessness” can now claim this same financial condition? 

And while peace and prosperity might have existed at the advent of Bonin’s near decade on the city council, things have changed for the worse by any reasonable standard no matter where you sit on the spectrum of local politics. 

With Bonin ever lurching to the left, his new found stance on defunding the LAPD to the tune of $150,000,000 and demonizing the efforts of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva fly in the face of practicality and the sentiments of CD-11 that neighborhoods like Venice have been overrun with homeless, high crime and a notion that community values, standards and norms no longer apply or even matter. 

For Bonin not only wants public safety removed from the community equation of safe neighborhoods and clean streets, any attempt to defend property and property rights of homeowners and tenants is now regarded as right wing and racist. 

And while correctly stating a near 40% spike in the homeless population in CD-11 on his watch since 2016, the total number is about a 125% spike since assuming office in 2013, while receiving an 18-month extension on his current term of office which resulted in another $500,000 in salary and benefits!

And with a current income of nearly $300,000 annually, Mike Bonin is nothing but positively more “home secure” than most thanks to his long tenure as both employee and elected official. 

For Mike Bonin has become what he seems to despise most in his rhetoric, and that’s employed, rich and home secure thanks to the taxpayers of Los Angeles who pay his gargantuan salary and benefits. 

For Mike is a millionaire first and foremost, a thought while revolting to the socialist left is the economic reality of Bonin yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The author is a member of the Outreach & Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and can be reached via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com or (310) 621-3775.

in Opinion
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