A group of Westside residents seeking to recall Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin submitted petitions to the city clerk Wednesday with what they say are enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The recall effort’s organizer, Nico Ruderman, said the group collected 39,188 signatures from registered voters in Council District 11, while 27,317 were needed by Wednesday’s deadline to prompt a recall election. The signatures will next go through a verification process by the city clerk.
Bonin was reelected in 2017 with 71% of the vote and is seeking reelection in 2022. His district includes Venice, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Sawtelle and more Westside neighborhoods. The draft redistricting map approved by the City Council on Tuesday left his district intact.
“This recall, and my reelection (they would take place just several weeks apart), isn’t really about me. It’s about how we, as a city, should respond to homelessness. And the outcome will shape decision making on this issue for some time to come,” Bonin tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
“This recall is really a choice about how we respond to homelessness: it’s a choice between housing and services, which work, or criminalization, which fails. It’s a choice between helping people off the street, or wasting money pushing them from neighborhood to neighborhood.”
The petition for Bonin’s recall was approved on July 13, which made him the second of three council members to be targeted by a recall this year, following Councilwoman Nithya Raman and preceding Councilman Kevin de León.
Organizers of all three recall efforts cite opposition to the council members’ handling of the city’s homelessness crisis.
Leading up to the recall effort, Bonin 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.
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. 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,” he said.
On Aug. 10, the chief administrative officer recommended the city not pursue tiny homes or safe camping sites at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, or at a privately owned lot at 5000 Beethoven Avenue in Del Rey.
Bonin responded that he will not push the city to pursue any of the sites deemed “infeasible” and will instead focus on four locations where the CAO’s report recommended further assessment, including at Marina Del Rey boat launch ramp, a vacant lot owned by Culver City, parcels at LAX and an RV park at Dockweiler.
A recall proponent and Venice resident, Katrina Schmitt, told the Los Angeles Times that the number of signatures on the petition indicates that residents of Bonin’s district are frustrated by homelessness, crime and what they view as a lack of responsiveness from Bonin’s office.
“We want him gone, we want him out. This is the official process to fire someone,” Schmitt told The Times.
Bonin has been praised by progressives for conducting a successful pathway to housing operation over summer on the Venice Boardwalk, which brought 213 people living on the beach and boardwalk indoors with a promise of a pathway to permanent housing.
By the end of October, 49 of those people had moved into permanent housing and 122 are in interim housing, awaiting permanent placements. The remaining 42 include people who were reunified with family or are awaiting permanent housing but left the interim housing placements.
Bonin’s office is in the midst of a similar “Encampment to Home” operation in Westchester Park.