OPINION: Councilman Mike Bonin Complains about the LAPD

Councilman Mike Bonin


In a September 2, 2020 L.A. Times Op-ed piece (“Los Angeles Is Going Off a Fiscal Cliff. This Is No Time to Give Pay Raises to the Police,” Councilman Mike Bonin writes that the police union is not negotiating with the City.

He warns that because the City will have a $600 million budget shortfall, the police need to forego raises.

“What’s on the chopping block? For starters, basic services, such as street resurfacing, adding traffic signals, sidewalk repair and maintaining parks and seasonal pools. What else? All the programs people have demanded in response to the real pain being felt by our neighbors: spending for affordable housing, renter assistance, lunch programs for our seniors and small-business support.,” Bonin writes.

He adds, “But that’s not all. The budget cuts will mean reduced emergency preparedness for wildfires and earthquakes, slow the purchase of Los Angeles Fire Department equipment and will cut gang intervention and youth development programs. The furloughs will increase cybersecurity risks. The cuts are an assault on public safety.”

In his latest monthly newsletter to constituents, Bonin writes: “Because the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) refuses to discuss delaying raises, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is beginning preparations to lay off hundreds of police officers. The action will dismantle units that patrol heavily populated and visited areas, like our beaches and nearby neighborhoods, and make deep cuts in detective bureaus investigating robbery and homicide.”

Let’s review. In July, Councilman Bonin joined his City Council colleagues in voting to cut the LAPD budget by $150 million, which resulted in the dissolution of the sexual assault unit, the animal cruelty task force, and reductions in air support, the Metropolitan division, gangs and narcotics and commercial crimes.

In a November Los Angeles magazine piece (“What We Know So Far about the LAPD’s Dramatic Cost-Cutting Measures”), LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission that LAPD’s ranks, which once amounted to 10,100 sworn officers, has shrunk to 9,854 and will be further reduced to 9,750 by March or April 2021 (the cuts are coming not through layoffs, but rather retirements, with openings left unfilled).

“There is a means of trying to minimize the impact of 350 fewer people, but there are 350 fewer people,” Moore told the commission.

Bonin complained in his Op-Ed that the police were not open to negotiating and that they were the only municipal group that was not cooperating.

In a December story, CTN reported: “The city’s firefighter union received a 4.75% pay increase on July 5 and is poised to receive another 3% next summer. And the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents a half-dozen non-sworn employee groups, is slated to receive a 2% raise in January and another 2% in June.”

The Coalition of L.A. City Unions is part of SEIU 721(Service Employees International Union) and includes Local 901 (City Recreation and Park Officials), Local 2006 (steel workers), Local 2626 (librarians), Local 3090 (5,000 City Clerical and Support Services employees), Local 3672 (communication workers), Local 741 (painters, stage building and construction trade), the Service Employees International Union, Local 721 (95,000 workers in hospitals, foster care, courts, libraries, street services, beach maintenance, sanitation water treatment and parks services), Local 501 (International Union of Operating Engineers), Localal 777 (Laborers International Union of North America), the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council; and International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 911.

As much as I love our town’s library (which hasn’t been open in nine months) and our librarians and the Recreation and Parks staff, which hasn’t been able to run any programs, these city employees didn’t have to cope with rioters, who destroyed enormous amounts of property during the summer.

Most city workers don’t have to worry that their lives are in danger just by putting on a uniform and showing up for work. Not many people take potshots at a librarian checking out a book.

I sent an email to Bonin’s office in December and asked about the raises for the firefighters and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions. His Deputy Chief of Staff David Graham-Caso responded: “Regarding your questions about the pay scale increases that were approved prior to the pandemic and economic collapse — though details vary depending on each MOU, furloughs and other cost-saving measures will more than nullify any increases due to civilian employees in the foreseeable future.”

In his January 12 message to constituents, Bonin concluded, “Faced with a record $600 million budget shortfall, other city employee unions have made the choice to negotiate shared sacrifice; they have looked out for the needs of our neighborhoods, our residents and our small businesses. As a result, other departments are not facing layoffs. But our largest union, representing 9,900 sworn officers, refuses to even talk with the City.”

Hmm. Cut the police budget by $150 million, which results in more than 350 police officers disappearing from the force and you complain LAPD won’t talk with you?

So maybe seasonal pool workers will forego a raise, and you want police to do the same? LAPD personnel go to work every day and there is no guarantee they will return home at the end of the day.

Councilman Bonin, you’re looking for cuts in the wrong place, because there are bad people who use guns and sometimes a police officer is the only person between us and them.

LAPD officers put their lives on the line during the looting this summer.

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6 Responses to OPINION: Councilman Mike Bonin Complains about the LAPD

  1. John L Schwartz says:

    Right on, Sue! Bonin is a piece of work imho. He might be the kind of guy who’d murder his parents and then ask for leniency from the judge because he is an orphan.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When we had riots in SM and elsewhere throughout LA, Mr. Bonin was quick to vote to defund the police and even held an initial “reimagining safety” (or something like that) with a number of anti-police people, but no police. He did later on have a followup with police on safety and budget issues. I had asked for a copy of the survey he used to justify his desire to defund the police (4 times, calls, emails, you name it) and was never responded to. The attached link summarizes (questions) the survey he used to “justify” his desire to defund the police and move resources to alternative methods of safety. https://argonautnews.com/power-to-speak-the-real-results-of-mike-bonins-reimagined-public-safety-survey/

    Read some of the writings of Casey Gwinn, former DA of San Diego and an expert on domestic violence to understand that those councilmen and women who promote defunding the police to allocate monies elsewhere for “reimagining safety” are without serious and critical analysis-eg purely political actions.

    I unfortunately do not know how one can trust his intentions, let alone his numbers. At one pt I liked him and even gave him money for his first campaign-now, no way.

  3. M says:

    Thank you, Sue. LAPD and FIREFIGHTERS need our support, in every way. Thank you to the men and women who serve Los Angeles on a daily basis, and in doing so, perhaps risking their lives. I too, think Councilman Bonin is looking for cuts in the wrong place(s).

  4. Maureen Gardner says:

    Great artical. Your local coverage is so important to our community.
    How can I support your site?

  5. Jim Williams says:

    Bonin screwed over Venice and adjacent areas and moved to the Palisades, which years ago, sponsored by a group of wealthy Palisadians, who raised $500,000 to cut a deal to avoid building a homeless shelter in their community, and instead were allowed to ship out the homeless (who were living in Temescal Canyon Park) to an organization in Santa Monica which took the homeless and has been the subject of investigative reports that allege cruelty and intimidation tactics with the homeless they manage.

    This guy is a total phony. He’s pissed at the world and wants the rest of us to live under the consequences of his pigheaded actions. As soon as this guy is history, the homeless situation will be properly managed by getting the encampments under strict rules of conduct and cleanliness and getting the the hell out of million dollar neighborhoods.

    Don’t believe his crap about a housing crisis causing the homeless explosion. The rents in west LA have always been insane. These people are not the working poor. They are the non working long term destitute, long before COVID. They are mostly drug addicts and alcoholics.

  6. gazele says:

    absolutely agreed .. west LA streets are becoming west “Skid Row”
    DO you care Mike Bonin ? why are we paying taxes .. you are horrible .. please quit !!!!

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