April 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: “I Can Win This Race”

Combat Veteran Mat Smith believes he has the right stuff to pull off the upset come June 7th Primary! Smith secures first ballot position, rejects matching funds, “Morals & Values” will drive his campaign

By Nick Antonicello

The grass roots candidacy of Mat Smith was rejuvenated when a small band of volunteers, family and friends were able to secure some 800 signatures which qualified him as a candidate for city council in CD-11, a crowded and competitive race to succeed outgoing Councilman Mike Bonin, who decided to retire from public office versus stand for a third and final term.

More good news came to his effort as he received the coveted #1 ballot position on the June 7th primary.

A first-time candidate, Smith believes his campaign went from “zero to hundred” and proclaimed, “I’m not here to lose.”

While the race is non-partisan, Smith is a Republican in the tradition of Ronald Reagan as he wants to end the government’s series of bad decisions that find CD-11 in the place we are today.

And while this city council race offers matching funds to bolster the campaign coffers of his opponents, Smith rejects the use of tax dollars for politics.

“I’ll put my money where my mouth is.”

Smith believes the primary issue in the race is homelessness and that his solutions are best tested to succeed.

Smith stated permanent, affordable housing should be for longtime residents, people who are downsizing like seniors, not the transient homeless population.

“Shelter is a right, housing must be earned.”

Smith rejects the notion affordability is the source of homelessness, but rather addiction and mental health conditions.

“Treatment must be first. The alternative housing first model has failed,” noted the owner of a medical delivery service.

Smith rejected any perceived front-runner status by any of his opponents and believed the “other candidates are coming to myside of things,” especially on the issue of encampments and rising crime.

Smith stated this “was a byproduct of defending the homeless on the streets,” and that he will author a strict no-camping ordinance should he be elected.

Smith believes he is the only candidate that supports a permanent solution that ends street encampments and moves the entire homeless population outside CD-11.

“I can handle the pressure of fixing the problem. Offering free housing on the Westside is only an incentive for more homeless. My plan is the only true solution that can work. You cannot house thousands of individuals in one of the most expensive places to live in the country,” offered Smith.  

Smith pointed out he is not a lawyer and sees that as a distinct advantage.

“I am the exact opposite of Mike Bonin and I am unique to this field. I will not waste tax dollars on campaigns and I’m not afraid to offer the only workable solution which is a treatment first model.”

Smith coined the phrase “Values over Politics” in his quest for elective office.

“Family, community, country and God. These are the values I live by because I like to sleep well at night.”

Smith stated he is consistent in his refusal of government funding as the cure-all for the problems of the country or CD-11.

Smith shared he qualified for PPL funding during the COVID-19 crisis but would not accept these federal dollars out of principle.

“I turned down some $22,000 in what many described as free money. For me I would rather do a hard day’s work and honest day’s work,” shared the candidate.

Smith turned the conversation back to homelessness and said he would seek the enforcement of low level crimes to make the district and places like Venice safer.

“I can work with law enforcement. I’m the only candidate in this race to stand a post and handle a M-16. I understand their job.”

Smith talked about the hypocrisy of not enforcing the law while observing the ticketing of cars for street sweeping and overtime parking as fundamentally wrong.

“We’re in a busted system and we need to return the angels.”

Smith was complimentary of some of his fellow council hopefuls while not so much for others.

“I like Jim Murez. I met him and his wife and he’s very nice guy. I just believe my approach is better. Erin Darling is just too far to the left promoting failed ideas and proposals. Greg Good is a scary candidacy as well. I reviewed Traci Park’s website and I don’t see proposals or policies that work. I was in this race before Bonin left and I’m confident based on the strength of those ideas I am best prepared to serve.”

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who is covering various local campaigns, including the CD-11 Primary and General Election. He can be reached at nantoni@mindspring.com or (310) 621-3775.

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