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Mike Bonin Says He'll Fight For Every District 11 Neighborhood

Council District 11 candidate talks about his experiences working in L.A. city government, and with Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

Having worked with Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl since the first day of his campaign in 2005, District 11 candidate Mike Bonin says the Westside has the "highest level" of community and neighborhood participation on any issue.

"I think it's the most active, informed and engaged district in the city," he told Patch. "That makes the nature of the Los Angeles City Council different here than in other districts, because you have tremendous partners here in every community."

Bonin said Mar Vista resident Chuck Ray knows more about the Department of Water and Power rates than the DWP director, and Pacific Palisades resident Chris Spitz knows more about cell phone tower regulations than probably anyone in the city. Bonin added that many reliable leaders of the entertainment industry reside in Brentwood.

One of the major challenges in downtown L.A. is overcoming the occasional perception that since District 11 is a wealthy district, it doesn't need anything, he noted.

"There's a constantly struggle to correct that misconception," Bonin said, adding that, if elected, he wants to get more police and fire department services for District 11, particularly in the northern portion.

"When we lost an engine company at Station 69, that is a huge issue for me," Bonin said. "The fact that 911 response times are so slow in Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, particularly on those winding canyon roads, is a huge problem."

Prior to working with Rosendahl, Bonin said he's been a community leader and grassroots activist with a track record of fighting for Westside neighborhoods for nearly two decades.

"To deliver for our neighborhoods, you need to know how government works," he said.

What Bonin learned from Rosendahl

"Bill Rosendahl has a bigger heart, a stronger sense of optimism and a more boundless positive spirit than anyone I've ever met," Bonin said. "I've learned from him how you can create change, and move our neigbrohoods in a positive direction."

Bonin said as Rosendahl's chief of staff you have to "be a traffic cop," when having to deny spending money and resources on an tough initiative.

"Bill always forced the 'yes,'" Bonin added.

If elected, Bonin said he will expand on Rosendahl's transparent approach with his constituents by holding office hours twice a month at different locations, and consider nights and weekends for those who have tough schedules. He's also considering hosting "communty chats," if elected, and wants to use technology more to keep residents more connected to government

"I want to take his level of transparency an accessibility and put it on steroids," Bonin said. "It doesn’t make sense to me to talk to nieces and nephews on east coast very easily on Skype or something else, but if someone needs to testify at a planning hearing, they need to take day off work, fight traffic and sit on bench downtown."

When asked if his campaign has an advantage since he's so closely connected with Rosendahl, Bonin said that his experience working in the city for 17 years adds to not just what he learned becoming chief of staff with the city councilman.

"I think we all run the experiences we have and the vision we express," Bonin said. "And having worked to get stuff for neighborhoods for the past 17 years, that gives me a lot of experience, a lot of know-how and, I think, a lot of vision to make our neigborhoods stronger and make our city better."

Bonin said he's worked to get more cops for Westside neighborhoods, build new playgrounds and skate parks, help clean up the local environment, help cut taxes to keep good jobs here in the district, work with communities and agencies to synchronize traffic signals and start building the Expo line.

If elected, Bonin said he would take on the same committee assignments at city hall as Rosendahl, and would like to be appointed by Los Angeles' next mayor for the Metro Board of Directors.

Key transportation subjects

  • Bonin said by 2015 the Expo line will be extended all the way to the Westside, and he's currently on the construction authority overseeing that. He added that, since it's being projected the Expo will carry more people than the I-10 Freeway, Metro, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Culver City Bus become more coordinated and integrated with the Expo Line.
  • Additionally, Bonin said in the next five years he'd like to get the Green Line to LAX, and, sadly, since it's probably a generation away, he added he'd like to see a north-south transit line from San Fernando Valley to LAX.
  • Bonin said he'd like to see a trolly and shuttle system, at least from the top of Lincoln Boulevard, take some pressure off gridlock, and would like to see LAX create some flyaway shuttles for Venice and Santa Monica.
  • With Rosendahl's success on promoting bicycling in the city, Bonin said he will look to continue building out the bicycling network with more lanes.
  • Bonin wants to alleviate the issues of traffic on Sunset Boulevard near the 405 Freeway project in Brentwood, such as red light cameras to prevent vehicles from blocking intersections, additional traffic control officers, addressing streets used as cut-through traffic and other calming measures.

Thoughts on LAX's future

Prior to Tuesday's decision by the Airport Commission to move a runway 260 feet north closer to Westchester and Playa del Rey homes, Bonin said he supported alteratives 2 and 9, regarding the reconfiguration of the airfield and ground transportation system, respectively. He said he's worked on this issue since the late 1990s with former City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, Congresswoman Jane Harman and Councilman Rosendahl.

"I share Bill's mantra of 'modernization yes, expansion no,'" Bonin added.

Findings by NASA Ames showed there was no compelling reason to move the runway north and that, to make it safer, add more runway status lights and add better federal government staffing to the air traffic control tower.

Homeless in Venice

Rosendahl and Bonin tout a strong track record to working with those less fortunate and responding to that population in Venice. Bonin cited the Project Assisting The Homeless agreement has helped considerably.

He said Rosendahl apologized for the process used to get the storage locker near Venice Beach so people unhoused are able to store their belongings before heading north at night to the shelter.

"There can be very strong and loud voices on either end of a spectrum," Bonin said, highlighting the issue of Los Angeles' homelessness at the city council. "On most local decisions, most people reside in the reasonable middle. It’s important to do the hard work for listening for some of the quieter voices to realize where the reasonable middle is, and to work with people who are genuine."

To view more about Bonin's campaign and stance on city issues, view his website.

Related:Frederick Sutton Enters Council District 11 Race

L.A. Streetsblog profiled all four CD11 candidates this week during the "Liveable Streets" candidate forum. Click here and scroll to the Jan. 23 entries.

Odysseus Bostick February 08, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Thank you, Ronald. I just saw your comment after reading this article. I'm not surprised that a politician would paint a rosier picture of his history than reality plays out. But, the claims Mr. Bonin makes to "fight for every neighborhood" really ring false when you start talking about Playa Vista. Mr. Rosendahl and Mr. Bonin have fought tooth and nail for 8 years directly against that community. The only time they paused their relentless battle against that neighborhood was for the 2009 election. Any reasonable person would look back at that as empty political rhetoric - much like this false promise. It's time to move on. Our community spirit doesn't need to be so weighted down with cynicism. We don't have to take it anymore. http://www.Bostick4LA.com/playavista
Odysseus Bostick February 08, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Thank you for your support.
Tina Hess February 08, 2013 at 05:15 PM
There is an experienced, qualified alternative to the Bonin machine. After 25 years as a prosecutor in the City Attorney's Office, I'm running for City Council to change the course that the current council office has set us on. My commitment to the residents of our District is to maintain and preserve the character and integrity of our neighborhoods. We need a leader who will stand up to special interests and say no to developers who put their profits ahead of the best interests of our neighborhoods. I have a proven track record and reputation for standing up to special interests. I have taken on big banks and insurance companies and illegal billboard companies and corporations that pollute our environment. I have worked with community- based organizations to develop strategies and alternatives to problem solving. I know how L.A. works and how it doesn't. I have a plan to make it work better. SMARTer. Please check out my website at "HessforCouncil.com" and please join us at any of the upcoming candidates' forums.
Peter Nott February 08, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Mike Bonin and Bill Rosendahl have given huge support to the transient industry in Venice with little regard for the devastating damage done to the thousands of taxpaying legal residents who are unable to enjoy peace quiet and safety in their own homes and businesses. It is totally disingenuous for Mike Bonin to say he will fight for the neighborhood when his track record so far has been to ignore the pleas of the real residents and destroy the neighborhood
Walter Wang February 08, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Peter, this is throughout all of CD11. And you are 100 percent correct on his record in Venice.
Venice Vortex February 09, 2013 at 12:01 AM
I will not vote for Bonin. I am a Venice resident and disgusted by the current administrations disregard for Venice resident's quality of life. The boardwalk is a public park, not an encampment. Our representatives should be working hard to give the boardwalk back to the residents and tourists. Stop the social services that encourage a larger skid row population.
catman February 09, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Great. Just what we need on the City Council. A "prosecuter". No thanks .
Walter Wang February 09, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Bonin is part of the old Rosendahl old guard that has no regard for the Venice residents and just panders to the social service groups which is a small percentage in the Venice community. He brings nothing new to the table and has no plan to make improvements to our community. Instead he has allowed the social service groups to run wild in Venice, without any regard how the residents feel. Basiclly the response has been consistant if you don't like it move. It is my hopes if the residents don't like it vote, and vote we will for someone else.
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:15 AM
ty, WTF? Rosendahl has bowed to Ryavec pretty close to EVERY TIME! Wow! Where you been? Do you even live in Venice? Let's see.....Oversized Vehicle Signs to block RVs--with none of the PROMISED designated places for them as an alternative, the totally illegal Closure of the Boardwalk, no new bathrooms that are OBVIOUSLY desperately needed, the Third Street Raid where the city stole and threw in the dump all the possessions of the people there, OPDs are still on the table (only because Mark is suing again...) Need I go on? In fact, this one month Storage Container for Winter Shelter access is the only thing I can think of in years that Rosendahl hasn't caved to Ryavec on. Not because they are great solutions but because Mark has money, an attorney on retainer and he threatens to sue or does sue if he doesn't get his way. Check your facts, dude.
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Odysseus, I have spoken with you a few times and think you have a good head on your shoulders (although, sorry to say, not enough experience--yet--for the job at this time....sorry.) I hope that you are not supporting this hate of homeless people. When I saw a piece you wrote in the Argonaut months ago you sounded like you would like to find solutions for them, not just keep kicking them around. Have you changed your position because you are running for office? I really hope not. Don't sell yourself out. It is not worth it. Your kids are watching you. They want you to be compassionate to those in need, I guarantee it. Cheers!
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Peter, why? Just curious. ALL your neighbors? I'm interested then, which part of Mar Vista?
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Fought against Playa Vista? What does that even mean?
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:37 AM
Tina, with all due respect, you say, "My commitment to the residents of our District is to maintain and preserve the character and integrity of our neighborhoods. We need a leader who will stand up to special interests and say no to developers who put their profits ahead of the best interests of our neighborhoods. I have a proven track record and reputation for standing up to special interests," yet you suck the tit of Ryavec, who is DEFINITELY a special interest with his VSA, anti-homeless projects, AS WELL as a consultant to DEVELOPERS that you say you do not support. Also the "character and integrity of our neighborhoods" in Venice has a lot to do with the artists and Boardwalk people--who 16 million tourists a year come to see. If you support Ryavec--or accept his support--then you obviously are a homeless hater to or no way would he support you. Could you comment?
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:53 AM
Vortex, The 16 million visitors that come to Venice--and support you and all the other business owners here--come specifically to see the Boardwalk scene. (Do you think they come from Australia to play paddle tennis?) If all that goes away, we lose our tourists and then what? Sorry to tell you, but the people on the Boardwalk--many of them--ARE residents--AND have been here longer than you. If you stop fighting people who are trying to solve these problems maybe you would see a great change, but you fight every solution, sometimes without even knowing what the program is first! (Like the Storage Container for the Winter Shelter) If we stop social services are you advocating that we let people just suffer and die? These include veterans, foster kids who turn 18 and have no resources, domestic violence victims, runaway kids from abusive homes, people who have been illegally foreclosed on, people who got sick and could not pay rent, people with mental afflictions that need assistance, etc...remember that these are the people you would victimize, not only the few criminals you speak of ad infinitum...
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:55 AM
Walter, you are totally wrong. On every point.
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Nott.
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Proof?
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Walter, maybe if you are that callous you do not belong in Venice. Maybe it IS you that should move on. Venice is a community that is known for being inclusive and cooperative. Maybe Santa Monica is a better fit for all ya'll that think we should sterilize Venice and make it into Santa Monica. Why fight it? Just LEAVE.
Deborah Lashever February 10, 2013 at 04:08 AM
Odysseus, Please explain what you mean that they have fought against Playa Vista for 8 years. Fought against what?
Odysseus Bostick February 10, 2013 at 04:13 AM
First off, Thank you for the kind words, Deborah. I have not changed my perspective on homeless people. It is my desire to find homes for everyone. On Playa Vista, Rosenbonin has a track record of fighting that community. It's a bit ridiculous, but here's the backstory. The development was approved (I believe before the Rosenbonin reign). The first phase was built and focused primarily on housing, though there was a main shopping district built within the community as well. Politically, Rosenbonin attempted to appease environmentalists and prove their environmental mettle by fighting the development of phase II, the commercial-intensive section of Playa Vista. They blocked the development at many points and generally worked to look like they disapproved of the work because they wanted to appear to environmental groups like they were fighting for the environment by fighting phase II. It's typical political lip-service. The ballona wetlands had already been altered for the construction of phase I and preliminary work on phase II. The "fight" against the rest of the development was rooted in a political desire to appear progressive. Problem is, with the work down on phase I, the area for phase II had already been cleared for development. It's kind of like pretending to stop at a stop sign, but really just rolling through. Disingenuous. They pointlessly fought a new urbanist development after the harm to nature had been done only for politics.
Odysseus Bostick February 10, 2013 at 04:21 AM
My overall point in bringing it up was to illustrate that, by definition, Mike Bonin will not fight for neighborhoods. He has actually fought against the development of Playa Vista, a neighborhood that provides people like me with an oasis of playground access that is not available in my own neighborhood, an area that has been neglected by Rosenbonin for 8 years running. I'm a voter like you and I want change. I wholeheartedly desire to get help for the homeless in Venice, but we suffer from mismanagement and neglect under Rosenbonin. Their desire has been to please people temporarily while skirting responsibility for tough decisions the entire time. Moreover, they have squandered the emotional capital people invested in the issue 8 years ago so much that deep divides have developed within the community and trust is a relic of the past. I believe it's time to move forward, build consensus, and redirect people back to our original mission: finding homes for the homeless. On Ryavec, you are correct. We can chat privately about him further, though I have a lot to say. And you are right, I don't have experience in government. But I understand our problems from a variety of perspectives (homeowner, father, teacher, and child of addicts). I also have the knowledge, desire, fortitude, and will to heal venice. Give me a chance and you will not regret it. Contact me directly. Let's talk in person again. I'm available. odysseus@bostick4LA.com
Scott February 10, 2013 at 05:21 AM
Oh here we go, if you don't like all the bums littering the streets of Venice just move. Have you given any real thought to what Venice would be like if the tax paying residents and business owners got tired of the fight to have clean and safe streets in Venice? If they all moved away? No business and no tax money would leave a community in collapse. No businesses, no shoppers, no tax money to keep Venice in repair. Hell, even the panhandlers would leave for more fertile locales. Total anarchy, perhaps that's what you want as a member of Occupy, but you don't have the foresight to really understand what you are asking for. Venice would have to rely on the goodness of it's neighbors to even exist, but if we've all moved to Santa Monica, trust me, we won't be all that interested.
Tori barman February 10, 2013 at 06:02 AM
Deborah Lashever it is you who should move out of Venice, because the residents are committed to making Venice better than Santa Monica. I think Venice is way too upscale for you Deborah. I think you might feel more at home in downtown skid row. They really need you down in that part of town, more than we need you in Venice.
Venice Vortex February 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM
Deborah the tourists come to Venice in spite of the disgusting things they see on the boardwalk. If we remove the aggressive criminal vagrants from the boardwalk, people will still come in the masses. But they will come and leave with a better feeling. Long term residents like my self are tired of your small organized vocal group that monetizes (Steve Clare) on the homeless screaming at us that we do not have compassion to live in a skid row situation that your group created. We 38,000 Venice residents are tired of it. Spread the social services evenly across CD 11 to Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Westchester, Playa Del Rey, etc.... Not 99% in Venice. That Container is a waste of space. I have sat out there on many afternoons just to watch a few stranglers with too much shit use it. The container benefits a few (2 - 4) homeless each day. The greater good for the community out weighs the benefits to those folks who need to down size. They are homeless and should be not be dragging 4 - 6 suitcases with them. The container takes away from our ocean views. It is an ill conceived program that was forced down the throats of Venice residents to benefit how many? Most days you have more container volunteers than users. Admit it the program does not work.
Tori barman February 10, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Eventually Deborah economics will force you out of Venice. As far as your starving homeless cause that makes no sense. What a waste of money. These people could be housed and feed with all the money wasted by the Venice social service groups. Palmdale is a much more affordable community to housed your unhoused. Just think if your idol Steve Clare sold all his Venice real estate what he could by in Palmdale for the homeless. 800 to 1000 units. Just think of all the good that could be done and lives that could be saved.
Matthew Sanderson (Editor) February 10, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Hey folks thanks for such passionate discussions on deeply local topics to your CD11 communities. However, personal attacks and vendettas will not be tolerated. Keep it civil and read the terms of use before posting something questionable. Thanks. http://brentwood.patch.com/terms
Deborah Lashever February 11, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Tori, You obviously do not know me. Thanks for sharing.
David Lewis February 21, 2013 at 04:33 AM
Matthew I couldn't agree with you more. Please focus more of the same comments to The Spirit Of Venice comments and attacks on this site. Thank you in advance.
Steve Burns February 22, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Tina, as a Venetian and registered voter, if you support enforcement of the law evenly on everyone (residents, visitors, housed and unhoused alike), and not make backdoor phone calls to Pacific Division telling them not to enforce the laws the residents expect enforced against selected groups, then you got my vote. And I think you can get an idea of the ratio of our community that would support that position from this commentary.
neal bern February 25, 2013 at 02:47 AM
bonin, the guy who sucks the toes of the billboard industry, got the sierra club endorsement. what a total farce. if this guy is voted in, it will be a total loss for the district. This guy makes the peter principle subject to renaming. he has worked for every politician and seemingly cannot hold down a real job. maybe he should start drinking again?

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