Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Mike Bonin was served with a recall notice June 15, making him the second progressive council member to be the target of a recall effort in less than a week.
“This recall campaign is an extravagant waste of taxpayer money, a thinly disguised attempt to derail my efforts to provide real solutions to our homelessness crisis, and the latest in a series of recall attempts to silence strong progressive voices,” Bonin said in a statement released by his office.
Petitioners against Bonin, who represents Westside neighborhoods including Venice, and Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who represents central neighborhoods including Hollywood and Silver Lake, cite anger with how the council members have handled the city’s homelessness crisis.
The two have led an effort to replace the city’s mandatory encampment clean-ups with a more voluntary, service-based approach. Their motion to have the city develop a new method to replace the clean-ups, often referred to as “sweeps,” was unanimously passed by the City Council in April.
Under Los Angeles’ recall rules, constituents are able to sign petitions to recall council members starting four weeks after the notices were served. In order to get the recall effort on the ballot, the campaigns have 120 days to obtain verified signatures from 15% of the districts’ registered voters. The Raman recall effort needs at least 27,448 signatures, while at least 27,387 signatures are needed for the Bonin effort.
“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 said in his statement 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.”
Bonin has faced increased backlash from constituents since 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.
More than 31,000 opponents of the motion signed a change.org petition against creating camping sites and tiny home sites in Westside beaches and parks.
“If the motion is approved by the City Council, people who are homeless because of drugs and mental illness will have the legal right to live in the parking lot at our public beach in Pacific Palisades,” the petition stated.
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,” the email said. “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.”
The recall notice served to Bonin comes less than a week after a recall notice was served June 9 to Raman, who has been in office for about six months. That recall effort, which is led by Los Feliz Ledger publisher Allison Cohen, alleges that Raman is putting her “personal homelessness ideology over constituent safety.”
Raman responded to the recall effort with a statement June 15, saying: “I love the people and the neighborhoods of this district. That’s why I ran to represent it. I invite the organizers of this recall to work with me on making it an even better place to live, work and raise our children.”