(Editor’s note: The story is reprinted with permission from the Westside Current.)
With a little more than two months to go, the Recall Bonin 2021 campaign says it has collected half of the necessary 27,387 signatures needed for a recall election.
Bonin was served with a recall notice on June 15. The campaign has until November 10 to gather all needed signatures.
Councilmember Mike Bonin has pushed back against the recall efforts citing an “extravagant waste of taxpayer dollars” and party politics as reasons not to move forward with the recall.
In a statement issued after being served recall papers, Bonin said the campaign is right-wing forces and constituents who have fought to stop housing, shelter and services for the unhoused in the coastal neighborhoods, “leaving people to die on the streets.”
Venice residents Nico Ruderman and Katrina Schmitt, who have been heading the recall efforts, say they are lifelong Democrats who voted for Bonin in the past.
Both Ruderman and Schmitt stressed the bipartisan collection of volunteers and supporters from all sides of the political equation.
“We have Democrats as well as Republicans. We have committed independents. We have conservatives, liberals and moderates, and the reason we can string together this unique community of constituencies is because of the core values we can all agree upon. Mike Bonin has been our councilman for nearly a decade and presided over increased homeless encampments, rising crime and this notion that LAPD needs to be defunded versus supported in these trying times when you couple the impact of the pandemic and COVID-19,” said both Ruderman and Schmitt.
Ruderman, who is married with one son, says he believes Council District 11 is at a crossroads and that the time for change is now.
“This is no longer a discussion on why Mike Bonin is a terrible elected official that lacks the temperament to govern successfully, but about the math and the fact we’re halfway home to securing the necessary signatures to make the change people want and demand,” Ruderman said. “The bottom line is this, Mike Bonin is out-of-touch, in too long and it’s time for him to go.”
Schmitt, who worked as a Program Manager at Google before becoming involved in the recall efforts, says she is equally optimistic about this historic challenge to the status quo of LA politics and government.
“We can feel the change that’s in the air. We have a district-wide coalition of dedicated volunteers that have simply had enough,” Schmitt said.
While “recall” has become a catchword in California, more than 70 elected officials across the state have faced recall efforts since the beginning of this year, most notably Governor Gavin Newsom. Ruderman and Schmitt say that other campaigns can sometimes confuse the public, emphasizing that the Council District 11 recall is independent and bipartisan.
“The issue is Mike Bonin’s terrible record and his inability to lead on the issues of homelessness, rising crime and the destruction of our neighborhoods right before our eyes,” Schmitt said. “It is unacceptable and intolerable, and the fact we have this many signatures ahead of schedule tells me Mike Bonin will be standing before the public once and for all, sooner than later.”
Ruderman and Schmitt also say that the extended-term Bonin is currently serving, five and a half years versus the standard four-year term, has angered many residents in the district.
Bonin was first elected as the CD 11 councilmember in July 2013 and was reelected on July 1, 2017, with a term to expire on December 11, 2022.
If all goes as expected, a presentation to recall can be made to the full city council mid-December.