Pacific Palisades Residents Association Holds a Candidate Forum; Contention Remained Over Proposed Debate Dates

by Sue Pascoe

On Feb. 16, the Pacific Palisades Residents Association (PPRA) hosted a forum for candidates in the March 7 City Council District 11 primary election. The event was held at University Synagogue in Brentwood and started about 20 minutes late because of the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Sunset Boulevard.

Challengers Robin Rudisell and Mark Ryavec were present, but incumbent Councilman Mike Bonin did not attend. About 125 people attended the forum.

About 125 people attended the forum for candidates at University Synagogue.
About 125 people attended the forum for candidates at University Synagogue.

Veteran KNX-1070 newsman Frank Mottek, an award-winning broadcast journalist who provides “Your Money” reports, moderated the discussion between Venice community activist Ryavec and Brentwood businesswoman and coastal advocate and Venice resident Robin Rudisill.

He asked six questions, and the candidate who responded first had two minutes. The second candidate then had three minutes, with the first candidate allowed a minute for a rebuttal afterwards.

  1. Traffic: What are you going to do about traffic? How will you going to alleviate traffic and what are you going to do about potholes?
  2. Homeless: What are you going to do about the homeless situation, that helps the homeless quickly get off the streets while also relieving residents of the burden of homeless encampments in their neighborhoods?
  3. Land Use: What do you see as the role of the council office in pending development proposals? Let’s also talk about Measure S, known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. What’s your view on that measure and your thoughts on land use and development in this area?
  4. Crime: What are you going to do about crime in this district and getting more cops on the streets here?
  5. Infrastructure: How would you address the frequent power outages and the water pipes that are blowing out all over the city?
  6. Business: How would you make this district, and Los Angeles overall, more business-friendly?

To read the responses, visit

Several Bonin associates were passing out flyers at the entrance to the synagogue before the forum. The flyer explained the reason Bonin did not attend was because “this event was planned and promoted long before anyone checked with Mike or anyone on his campaign about date and time.” Bonin was at an engagement at a senior center.

Since the forum was on private property, the associates were asked to leave. When they refused, they were escorted off the premises by security.

Organizer Debra Hockemeyer sent the News copies of the emails she had sent to Bonin. The first one, on Jan. 30, asked Bonin, “Please let me know if February 12 or 16 works for you.” Hockemeyer received a Jan. 31 reply from Bonin’s chief of staff, Chad Molnar, which stated: “Unfortunately, the Councilmember must decline your invitation.” Hockemeyer sent a follow-up to Bonin on Feb. 4, asking him to reconsider, and telling him that Feb. 16 had been scheduled.

On Feb. 9, Bonin sent out a press release titled “Bonin Holds Firm on Debate Commitment, Rivals Trying to Confuse, Deceive Voters,” that said in part: “Like my opponents, I agreed to a scheduled forum on Feb. 27.” This forum will be hosted by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) at 7 p.m. at Windward School.

As the News reported on Feb. 15, WRAC vice president and Pacific Palisades Community Council President Maryam Zar asked the three candidates to indicate their open dates for a forum between February 6-22. Rudisill and Ryavec was available for any of those days. Because of her daughter’s wedding, Rudisill was not available the weekend of Feb. 11. Then the date of Monday, Feb. 27, for the WRAC forum, which was not a good date for either of Bonin’s challengers.

Rudisill would be hosting a wedding reception for her daughter with about 100 guests over the weekend, but will now gamely attend the debate with Bonin. “I know I’ll be wiped out,” she told the News.

Ryavec will join a family reunion in Northern California that weekend through Feb. 28. He has lost both parents in the past few years, and a brother died of a heart attack last year. Had he been given the choice of Feb. 27, he said, he would have let organizers know he was unavailable.

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