OPINION: Maryam Zar Should Run Against Councilman Bonin in 2022 

 

By SUE PASCOE

Editor, Circling the News

Maryam Zar

Recently, I met with fellow Palisadian Maryam Zar and urged her NOT to run for State Assembly (District 50) to replace incumbent Richard Bloom, who is considering a run for L.A. County Supervisor to replace Sheila Kuehl.

CTN thinks Maryam is fair, smart and phenomenal, but her talents are needed here in Los Angeles, which is why she should run for  City Council. Zar is hesitant to compete against incumbent Mike Bonin, who has already filed his paperwork for the 2022 election.

I reminded Zar that Bonin often fails to represent the residents he has been elected to help. He voted to raise DWP rates in 2016; he has lobbied to put little homes for the homeless on Will Rogers State Beach (without consulting the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, which has been successful); he favored construction of the eldercare facility in the Highlands and did not back this community against the high-rise development on Sunset near PCH; he promised Pacific Palisades parking-meter money in 2018 (and then took it back); streets that need paving, such as Sunset and Temescal Canyon Road, have not been paved; Bonin voted to cut the LAPD budget and promised a dog park that has yet to gain support from the City; the Palisades Recreation Center playground is not ADA compliant, nor are the bathrooms.

By contrast, Zar has a record completing tasks.

Born in Iran, she received a degree from Boston University before moving back to Iran. She became a correspondent for GMR (Gulf Marketing Review, published in London) and the Iran Business Monitor (published in New York), and also served as an editor at Tehran News, an English-language daily newspaper in Iran. She then moved back to the U.S. in 1995 and received a law degree.

She married, moved to Pacific Palisades, and now has three children, all of whom have attended local public schools and the current co-chair of the Paul Revere Parent board.

Zar is a past chair of the Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair and is a member of the Palisades Design Review Board and the local Park Advisory Board. She is a member of the Palisades-Malibu YMCA Board.

She has been working with the L.A. Department of International Affairs on their Sister Cities project, which Zar started.

She was appointed as a City Commissioner on the Status of Women, and in 2019, she visited a Greek refugee camp for the Azadi Project. This undertaking provides digital economy job skills to refugee women by teaching them technical skills such as multimedia communications and storytelling at refugee shelters.

Zar was the chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of  Councils, a contributor to the Huffington Post and a founder of  Womenfound (womenfound.org), a nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness to the plight of women in the Middle East and AfPak regions and empowering them with a voice.

She also hosts the monthly Palisades Podcast with Highlands resident Steven Cron.

In addition to all this, Zar was the first chair of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, when it was initially established as a PPCC committee in 2014.

In a 2015 letter to a local publication (“Pacific Palisades Homeless Task Force Explains the Next Steps”), Zar wrote: “Homelessness is decidedly a complex issue, with myriad facets, that cannot be tackled in one swoop, or even addressed in one article. But Pacific Palisades has formed its first-ever Task Force on Homeless to address the growing problem posed by the increasing number of transients and homeless in this community.”

She outlined the steps the task force was taking: 1) counting the homeless, 2) surveying them, 3) offering services and 4) forming an outreach subcommittee to find Palisadians with expertise in the fields of mental health, law and job training who would volunteer some of their time to work with the homeless.

Zar wrote: “The Task Force is also working on unearthing which of the strategies and practices have worked for other locales in addressing homeless problems, and which have not.  . . .We also have a subcommittee dedicated to law enforcement and finding ways in which LAPD and LAFD can help us secure high fire-hazard zones that have multiple makeshift encampments. Our objective is to make sure the makeshift shelters that crop up do not pose a fire or other safety hazard to the community.”

Thoughtful, practical and task-oriented, Zar is a person who would work hard on behalf of CD 11 residents. CTN urges you to reach out to her and explain how we need her in Los Angeles, not in Sacramento.

This entry was posted in City/Councilman Mike Bonin, Community. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to OPINION: Maryam Zar Should Run Against Councilman Bonin in 2022 

  1. M says:

    WONDERFUL CHOICE!!!! GO FOR IT, MARYAM….

  2. John L Schwartz says:

    Ms. Zar,

    You sound like a perfect candidate to send Mike Bonin into the overdue retirement he so richly deserves. You first try to understand things and then search for approaches that might be helpful. You work well with others and are compassionate.

    We need you! Please run against Mike Bonin. You will help our community find better solutions to the many difficult problems we face.

  3. Gordon Gerson says:

    Great suggestion! My only contact with Maryam was when I attended PPCC meetings she chaired. I was very favorably impressed by her fairness, keeping control of the meetings, and willingness to listen to community inputs. She would be a great council member and well represent her constituents.

  4. leslie C says:

    I wholeheartedly second this motion!!!

  5. Lee Sanderson says:

    I concur with this article. CD11 needs Maryam Zar. Please help our district, Maryam! The Homeless Taskforce has an impressive proven work ethic and results, and Mike Bonin did not even thank the PPHTF in our PPCC. On the contrary Bonin said “we need to do our share”. I believe the PPHTF have helped over 156 homeless to find services and housing. Maryam, thank you for your incredible work and ever expanding knowledge of local community issues and government.

  6. She would be fantastic here— but happy to hear she is an option for Sacramento too!

  7. Linda Kelley says:

    Good morning, Sue!
    I read every CTN and I know how truthful you are. A lot has been written about Bonin and how he is very poor at representing the people who voted for him! This lady sounds invested in getting her ideas & projects done. I hope the people of your community can persuade her to run against Bonin. OR……maybe YOU can take on the challenge !!!!

  8. Michael Kafka says:

    What a great idea. Maryam would do a great job. Her track record proves that she is a doer and is community minded.

    We need someone in this position who cares.

  9. Karla J Gardner says:

    I would not only vote for her, I would campaign and donate!

  10. Tom Meade says:

    You make a pretty compelling case Sue – she sounds like
    the kind of world class talent the US is successful in poaching
    from abroad – to our benefit right here. Let’s take this opportunity
    to advance her. Thanks very much, Tom

  11. Diana says:

    Thank you for your vision, Sue. I agree. We must make Maryam see she is needed, and that she can ABSOLUTELY beat Bonin! It’s easier to run for an empty seat, obviously, but when has Maryam Zar taken the easy way out?

  12. Kathleen Jensen says:

    Dear CTN (aka:Sue), What an interesting article, encouraging Maryam Zar to run against Councilman Mike Bonin. I agree that she would be an effective member of the L.A. City Council. It’s understandable that Maryam would hesitate challenging Mike Bonin because he has supported some of her efforts over the years, increasing her visibility. I helped with Mike Bonin’s campaign (also Mayor Garcetti’s) back in 2013 and give both Bonin & Garcetti high fives on their L.A. Metro transportation efforts. However (big HOWEVER), the homeless crisis on the Westside & in Santa Monica requires new leadership. Maryam understands more than most the intricacies of homelessness and hopefully would make this a top priority. So I say, if Maryam would pledge to put the homeless crisis on the top of her agenda, I would absolutely support her run for L.A. City Council.

  13. Michelle Bisnoff says:

    Unfortunately, many people here may not have noticed that Maryam refused to sign the the Pacific Palisades Community Council letter advocating against the use of beaches and parks for homeless housing. She is out of step with more than a 1,000 advocates on this issue who have filed statements with the City and majority of her own community.

  14. Sue says:

    Michelle,

    She did sign the letter, but since she is a lawyer, she did argue over some of the fine points. Why do you say she didn’t sign it?

    Sue

  15. Steph says:

    She sounds absolutely delightful. Do you have any contact info so people can reach out?
    I especially like how her children attended public school, considering Bonin’s child has been receiving in person learning for quite some time at a private school.

  16. Annna says:

    Please run! We need a competent leader that have their constituents’s back. You said Bonin had money, we can help you raise money!!!

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