Recall Bonin Petitioners Say They Have Enough Signatures for Recall Election

Petition to recall councilmember files signatures with City Clerk

By Sam Catanzaro

A group petitioning to recall Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin has says it has more than the 27,317 signatures needed to trigger a special election. 

LA City Clerk Holly L. Wolcott announced Wednesday that the petition to recall Los Angeles District 11 City Councilmember Mike Bonin had been filed with the Office of the City Clerk and a conditional receipt was issued to the proponents. 

According to the petitioners, the Committee to Recall LA Councilman Mike Bonin, 39,188 signatures were filed with the City Clerk, 11,847 more than required, reflecting around 21 percent of the district’s eligible voter base. The 27,317 signatures needed under city code are 15 percent of the registered voters in the district. 

“We are so grateful to the entire community and especially our amazing volunteers who have driven this effort. To deliver more than 39,000 signatures to the Clerk yesterday – more signatures than Mr. Bonin has ever received votes in an election – sends a strong message about what we, the residents of CD11, want for our district,” said Katrina Schmitt, the co-head of the recall committee, in a statement.

Boxes of signatures at the City Clerk’s office.

The City Clerk will now conduct an initial review of the signatures to determine whether the petition meets all requirements needed to move forward to the signature verification phase. The Clerk will then have 30 business days to conduct petition signature verification.

If the signatures are verified and a special election triggered, the timing would be unusual. Bonin is already running for a third (and final) term in an election set for June. According to City Clerk Wolcott, a recall election would likely occur in May. A special election ballot would include not just a question about whether the voter supports the recall but also a list of replacement candidates.

This is the second time Bonin has faced a recall effort. In 2017-2018, constituents launched an unsuccessful recall effort in response to increased congestion resulting from lane reductions championed by Bonin. This initial effort, however, was localized to the Playa Del Rey and Mar Vista areas. This latest effort, however, has drawn support from across the district from voters frustrated by Bonin’s handling of the homelessness crisis.

“Mr. Bonin has ignored the calls of the community for help, particularly with the humanitarian crisis in our streets, as his solutions for the seven and half years he has been in office have proven ineffective and dangerous for everyone, including and especially for the homeless community he purports to champion,” Schmitt said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us still and we are looking forward to removing Mr. Bonin on the soonest possible timeline and replacing him with someone who will provide real solutions that include drug rehab services, mental health support, in addition to immediate shelter and housing at scale – and someone who will respond to their constituents’ feedback and calls for help.”

Bonin’s office has not immediately issued a statement regarding the recall but the councilmember took to Twitter Wednesday to speak out against the effort. 

“If the recall succeeds, it will empower those who think homelessness can be solved with handcuffs, something our city has tried and failed at for decades. We risk giving up on an evidence-based approach of housing and services, which began in earnest in just the past few years,” Bonin wrote. “The leaders of the recall are people who oppose homeless housing in their neighborhood, and people who are angry that I refuse to criminalize homelessness. They’re exploiting legitimate frustration about our crisis, and misleading people about what causes it and what ends it.” 

A recall election has not been successful in the City of Los Angeles in 75 years. The last successful effort occurred when Councilman Meade McClanahan was recalled by voters surrounding his support for a controversial preacher and political organizer Gerald L.K. Smith.

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