THE DOCTOR IS IN - Perhaps all who closely follow L.A. City and local politics are well aware that--despite 25,965 legitimate CD11 signatures supporting Mike Bonin's recall--the City threshold of 27,317 signatures to qualify for a recall ballot measure was not met.
Of note is that a total of 39,199 raw signatures were sent to the City Clerk's Office for verification last November 10th.
It's not a surprise, and certainly his right, that Mike Bonin sent out a Tweet shortly after the Clerk's announcement decrying "the long, wasteful, abuse of the electoral process, organized by obstructionists who opposed homeless housing and staff by right-wing operatives trying to waken progressives."
What is also not a surprise, and also the right of angry moderate, liberal, or even progressive CD11 voters who supported the recall effort, is that these same ~26,000 signatories now decry the false narrative that this was all just a "right-wing thing". And as for the few CD11 residents who lean to the right, since when did their political leanings become synonymous with "immoral" or "illegal"?
Because large numbers of these recall supporters, of all political stripes, were the same voters who supported in droves both the Bill Rosendahl campaigns (2005 and 2009) and Mike Bonin's subsequent first campaign.
It is to be remembered that Mike Bonin was elected to his first term as City Councilmember in 2013 with approximately 18,000 votes, and that he was re-elected in 2017 with approximately 32,000 votes. The recall had approximately 26,000 votes, it should be remembered.
Clearly, the number of voters who cherished Bill Rosendahl as an "anti-politician" and a champion of those who felt unrepresented, and who initially thought that Mike Bonin would be Rosendahl's erstwhile successor, had a change of heart after Mike Bonin got re-elected in 2017.
Why? Perhaps because of the overwhelming CD11 voter/stakeholder sentiment that Bonin oversaw and even caused a hijacking of homeless, crime management, and transportation issues by small, corrupt, and well-monied dark interests that shredded the City resources entrusted to Mike Bonin.
And, to boot, the numbers pretty much conclude that those formerly erstwhile Bonin supporters of his first term feel overwhelming betrayed by the actions of Councilmember Bonin's second term, and by the aloof manner in which Bonin and the CD11 staff now too often do business with those they purport to represent.
(Although strong and noble exceptions do exist in the CD11 staff. I've worked with them. They deserve a raise.)
So questions inevitably arise from what happened to, and what changed, the "man of the people" era of CD11 representation during the Rosendahl/first Bonin term...to the lack of community representation of the second Bonin term concluded by the majority of Bonin's former supporters...to the era of now supporting Traci Park, a "woman of the people".
These questions particularly hone in on the shocking and failed recall of Mike Bonin.
1) What the heck does "1,581 invalid signatures" mean?
2) What the heck does "1,517 invalid circulator affidavits" mean?
3) Clearly, the enthusiasm behind this recall effort must lead to some serious misgivings and doubts about the City Clerk's findings, and can easily draw some conclusions about "Downtown protecting itself". There were many Bonin opponents who also opposed the recall as a waste of money, time, and energy. How to confront, then, the failed recall effort?
4) Is not this recall, with its signatory numbers so high, an "Exhibit A" for the talking point that "Bonin can only blame himself for his recall"?
5) Based on the aforementioned "invalid signatures", it's therefore shocking that the "wrong district signatures" numbered only 1,323--and how to distinguish these different types of "invalid signatures"? So despite the recall organizers being too "gung ho", are the City Clerk's Office numbers sufficiently transparent?
6) How many invalid signatures of homeless or questionable CD11 "residents" occurred because of the recall signatory process (and City Council election process) being so different than "the Wild West" process that we allow for Los Angeles Neighborhood Council elections, and which encourages votes that are immoral and illegal to reasonably allow?
7) The final question relates to the confusion about what is a "legitimate vote", both locally and nationally. The DONE/Neighborhood Council directed from Downtown allows so many non-traditional ways of voting that it's easy to see why many think they DID have a legal way to sign for this recall...because they lived, worked, or "had a community stake" in CD11.
The late Bill Rosendahl stated repeatedly that he embraced Democrats, Independents, and Republicans (everyone who knew him remembers those words). None of this "right-wing this", or "right wing that".
Rosendahl also felt that "living" in a given Neighborhood Council was the ONLY legitimate way to elect and represent the stakeholders--all of them--of that Neighborhood Council...let's not forget that.
We now have Angelenos eligible to vote in more than one Neighborhood Council election--is that really a good thing for democracy and our nation?
Because the Venice Blvd. Road Diet was rammed through with the false narrative of having "50% support", in that so many non-Venice/Mar Vistans supporting the Road Diet were counted the same as legit L.A. City voting residents who were not prioritized, the recall process of Bonin (and the next CD 11 election) has also become a call for Voter Reform.
As with City and County homeless funds being corruptly and ineffiiciently used to promote private profiteering from our homeless crisis, we have the need to re-focus our attention and resources on those whose lives were shattered by the warping and abuse of the state-to-city transfer of Venice Blvd. that NEVER should have resulted in the Venice Blvd. Road Diet.
The two frontrunners opposing Mike Bonin are Traci Park and Allison Holdorff Polhill. Ms. Park was the first and open aggressive opponent of Councilmember Bonin for the 2022 CD11 race, and it's undoubtable (for any who have met or spoken with her) that Traci Park is the candidate who now has assumed the mantle of "representing forgotten voters" that Bill Rosendahl once held.
It's a free country (at least I think it is), and it's the right of anyone to run against Mike Bonin this late in the election cycle, but they're effectively "spoilers" insofar as the same leaders who support Park are those who once supported Bonin, and Rosendahl before him.
It's not hard to conclude Ms.Polhill is merely another Mike Bonin based on her messaging to date, and that the others out there (and they know who they are) who are either just starting, or have not yet started, to jump into the CD11 race will only serve the purpose of dividing any CD11 opposition against Bonin. In other words, they're effectively Bonin supporters.
The same organized interests (and, to boot, the dark and hidden interests who've led to a colossal and mmoral--dare I say of questionable legality?) who've confiscated the City resources meant to address homelessness, crime, and transportation/infrastructure are behind Bonin.
Think about how homeless and criminal activity have become rampant on our streets and on both our passenger and freight trains, the Venice Blvd. Road Diet, and the obstruction of innumerable sidewalks by homeless camps...and you get the idea.
The late "anti-politician" Bill Rosendahl would never have tolerated all of this, and his former supporters are now overwhelmingly supporting Traci Park. Just as anyone who got into Bill Rosendahl's way also were getting in the way of CD11 residents...
...the same can probably be said of Traci Park, because she is the only candidate who is trying, and who can, represent the forgotten voters of CD11.
Replacing Mike Bonin with Traci Park does appear to be both a focus on both the Rosendahl-era past as well as a focus on a renewed future for CD11 (and, by extension, for Westside and Citywide representation).
Because it's really not about Mike Bonin or Traci Park, or even the late Bill Rosendahl. It's about all Angelenos, and about those who deserve the right to be represented as much as they have the responsibility of supporting our City with their taxes, fees, mortgages/rents, and about those who fight every day for an honest and fulfilling life in the City of the Angels.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 9, years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees for 10 years. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)