By Nick Antonicello
There was good news for embattled incumbent Councilman Mike Bonin yesterday in that Governor Gavin Newsom not only survived a recall movement, but out-performed his 2018 number of 61.9% he received three years ago to 63.8%, with just 36.2% for his removal.
Red counties like San Diego also rejected the recall and in Orange County of all places, the “yes” question failed by some 50,000 votes.
In LA County, the recall was rejected by a vote of 1.5M “no” and 657K yes, nearly a 3-1 margin.
So do these numbers really have anything to do with the recall of Mike Bonin?
But what we did learn from yesterday is that Gavin Newsom successfully controlled the narrative from defending his record on issues such as COVID-19 or chronic homelessness and instead spoke about conservative talk show host Larry Elder’s many opinions that are just out of step with most Californians, including members of the Bonin recall movement.
The actual record and policies of Newsom were seemingly more tolerable and accepting than the thought of this talk show libertarian running the most progressive state in America today.
And Bonin has already stolen a page from the Newsom political playbook and has tried over and over again to paint the recall as some kind of right-wing maniacal movement of Trump supporters and white supremacists seeking to radicalize from the extreme places of politics rather than a conversation on Bonin’s failed and miserable record in office.
For the difference in this effort to gather signatures is that Bonin cannot “demonize” anyone until the signatures are verified, certified and tallied, at which numerous candidates will surely consider taking on the fundamentally flawed Bonin, the highest paid councilman in the United States today
And most of them if not all of them will be Democrats, just like Mike.
For Bonin, the ultimate Machiavellian, this discussion must be about politics, and not his failed public policy positions.
Because the Bonin record is wrought in multiple failures, and an erosion of public confidence, our values and our neighborhoods all at the same time and the issue is no longer that failed record, but Mike Bonin himself and his inability to represent the 11th Council District here in LA.
So in this lurch to discuss “what if’s” versus his actual record, Bonin is blaming non-existent right-wingers unknown to anyone by claiming the process is “abusing” and “just like Trump.”
He talks about a perceived process to take down democracy and Democratic officials, but fails to mention that the two chief proponents of the recall initiative are both registered Democrats Nico Ruderman and Katrina Schmitt, Venice residents who both supported and voted for Bonin in his successful runs for city council.
Ruderman was recently elected to the Venice Neighborhood Council and is a father and husband never involved in a movement of this magnitude! Schmitt, who comes from a technology driven, private sector background is also a registered Democrat and like many believes this is a quality-of-life concern for Venice and the many neighborhoods of CD-11.
Another Bonin exaggeration is the cost of this recall that it could be $1.2 million dollars to let democracy run its course.
What he doesn’t tell you is that the City of Los Angeles operates on an annual budget of some $11.2 billion, hardly a rain drop in an ocean of government expenditures or excess!
Bonin again speaks of unnamed, “right-wing forces” in a district where such individuals seem to be more likely on an Endangered Species list than a LA voter roll!
Talk of “secret” committees, Orange County operatives and lawyers are somehow running this bipartisan coalition of Democrats, Republicans and Independents when the fact is the largest pool of support are in fact Democrats just like Mike!
For the crux of the recall effort is the endless string of broken promises and policy failures of this two-term, highly compensated downtown insider who was awarded an additional 18 months in office with zero input from his perceived right-wing constituents yielding Bonin another $500,000 in additional income as well as free health benefits and lifetime pension credits courtesy of LA taxpayers!
For the hard reality is that Mike Bonin didn’t lose a single penny in salary or pay during this pandemic, and in fact his time in public office was extended without voter approval or input.
This “look at my voter registration and not my council voting record” is at the heart of the Mike Bonin, two-step pivot!
What is ironic is that Bonin claims the recall is a waste of money, but not the billions he squandered on homeless policies so ridiculous and unworkable or the $150M he demanded be removed from the LAPD budget during the height of a crime surge across every neighborhood with Venice being Ground Zero for those atrocities of enabling drug & alcohol transients and criminals in many cases being held hostage to gang-controlled encampments all across CD-11!
So while the results of this week’s recall have really nothing to do with this initiative, it is fair to speculate that most who have signed the petition are registered Democrats, but Democrats who supported Bonin’s two previous races to serve on the LA City Council?
For the Bonin recall effort is organic, fluid and not about political party, but purpose and meaningful solutions that will bring a government that is responsive, accountable and listening.
There are two paths to this road with one being a new election or the other the unthinkable notion of Mike Bonin allowed to serve for another four years making him bullet proof and immune from any criticism from his constituents tired of this failed status quo.
Recall in this case is the right track for a better Venice and Los Angeles, so sign the petition.The author is a member of the Outreach, Oceanfront Walk, Parking, and Rules & Selections committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org). He can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org