Wave Staff Report
LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Mike Bonin is facing a long political road in 2022.
He faces reelection in June with a potential runoff election in November.
And before that he probably faces a recall election.
The Los Angeles City Clerk’s Office confirmed in early December that the “raw number of signatures” on the recall petition against Bonin was enough for it to proceed to the verification stage, which will last about 30 days.
If the group has enough valid signatures of Council District 11 residents — they need 27,317 — the city clerk will send a certification of sufficiency report to the City Council, which will have 20 days to call for holding of a special recall election between 88 days and 125 days of the council’s action. That means Bonin will face a recall election about a month before the June primary.
Recall organizer Nico Ruderman said her group has collected 39,188 signatures, more than enough to force a recall election.
Ruderman and other Council District 11 residents are angry with Bonin’s response to the homeless crisis.
“Under Mike Bonin’s watch, the humanitarian crisis of the homeless population is growing exponentially,” the Recall Bonin 2021 campaign’s website said. “Taxpayer money is squandered. Fires. Struggling local businesses. Crime is rampant and rising. Neighborhoods and schools are unsafe. We feel afraid to visit public beaches and community parks.”
Bonin responded with a statement that called the recall campaign an extravagant waste of taxpayer money.
He said that the recall campaign is backed by right-wing forces and constituents who have fought to stop housing, shelter and services in the coastal neighborhoods, “leaving people to die on the streets.”
Leading up to the recall effort, Bonin faced backlash from constituents after introducing a motion to have the city explore housing homeless people in temporary cabins and safe camping sites on beach parking lots, including one at Will Rogers State Beach.
Bonin sent an email to constituents in May in an attempt to dispel what he said were rumors that his motion, which asks only for a report on feasibility, would actually create encampments.
“Some are claiming I have proposed that the city allow homeless encampments at our parks and beaches,” Bonin said at the time. “That rumor is not true. On the contrary, what I have proposed is designed to reduce encampments, so that our public spaces can return to full public use,” he said.
On Aug. 10, the chief administrative officer recommended the city not pursue tiny homes or safe camping sites at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey or at a privately owned lot at 5000 Beethoven Ave., in Del Rey.
Bonin responded that he will not push the city to pursue any of the sites deemed “infeasible” and will instead focus on four locations where the CAO’s report recommended further assessment, including at Marina Del Rey boat launch ramp, a vacant lot owned by Culver City, parcels at LAX and an RV park at Dockweiler.
A recall proponent and Venice resident, Katrina Schmitt, told the Los Angeles Times that the number of signatures on the petition indicates that residents of Bonin’s district are frustrated by homelessness, crime and what they view as a lack of responsiveness from Bonin’s office.
“We want him gone, we want him out. This is the official process to fire someone,” Schmitt told The Times.
In September, recall proponents accused Bonin’s camp of displaying the addresses of recall organizers in a campaign video meant to show ties between the recall campaign and right wing operatives.
Bonin’s campaign spokesperson Jesse Zwick said the address was shown at the bottom of the screen for three seconds, and the video was taken down when the campaign realized the error five days later.
One of the recall organizers had a glass door at her home shattered the day after the addresses were taken down. The Los Angeles Police Department investigated the vandalism, but could not determine if the did home was targeted or if the vandalism was connected to the recall.
Bonin has been praised by progressives for conducting a successful pathway to housing operation over the summer on the Venice Boardwalk, which brought 213 people living on the beach and boardwalk indoors with a promise of a pathway to permanent housing.
By the end of October, 49 of those people had moved into permanent housing and 122 were in interim housing, awaiting permanent placements. The remaining 42 include people who were reunified with family or are awaiting permanent housing but left the interim housing placements.
Bonin was one of three Los Angeles city councilmen targeted for recall in 2021 — all over the homeless issue — but is the only one who will face a recall election.