Viewpoint: UNDERDOG Will Save the Day

Whenever Sweet Polly Purebreds (aka Palisades residents) are being victimized by developers, L.A. City Planning, the Planning and Land Use Committee and L.A. City Council, we sing “Oh where or where has my UNDERDOG [Mike Bonin] gone, oh, where oh where he can he be?”

And just like that, UNDERDOG (aka Shoeshine Boy), Bonin’s heroic alter ego, jumps into a telephone booth and emerges a superhero to fight evil.

Episode One: PALISADES VILLAGE (…ruso-project-why/).

You remember when that nasty Pacific Palisades Design Review Board wanted to ensure that Caruso’s Palisades Village project reflected the architecture here (e.g., mid-century modern? Well, that was ridiculous because it would have taken far too many meetings and had far too much input from residents, so:

“There’s no need to fear—UNDERDOG is here!” and just like that the Design Review Board was removed from the project.

Well, that pesky contaminated dirt from the Palisades Village project that was supposed to help fill in Potrero Canyon wasn’t granular enough, and now it will cost about $500,000 to have it removed (…t-potrero-canyon/). But never mind, UNDERDOG was there and in December 2016 he received a check from Caruso for $100,000, directed to Bonin’s L.A. Forward Committee (City WatchLA

Caruso Hill


Those nasty Pacific Palisades Residents Association members and some members of the Pacific Palisades Community Council dared to question building an Alzehimer/dementia facility in a very high fire severity zone in the Highlands. A raring wildfire? Those senior citizens could shelter in place – or just put them on bikes and it’s all downhill to Sunset. Don’t stop this project!

“When Polly’s in trouble (or when help is needed), I am not slow, It’s hip-hip-hip and AWAY I go!”

UNDERDOG snapped into action and contacted a member of the Coastal Commission, demanding approval (the commissioner said she would not accept texts, but took Underdog’s). Those stupid, stupid people who opposed the project also pointed out the other  senior living facility in town had vacancies.

UNDERDOG, ever the hero, may have benefited from the $500,000 that was spent by the lobbying firm Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell, employed by developers Rony and Moshe Shram. (…-hire-a-lobbyist/ ‎.

Highlands Eldercare project site:
Photo: property of Gary Baum

Episode Three: JACK-IN-THE-BOX

Those miserable PPRA members, the sinister PPCC, frightening Self-Realization Center members, the toadies at the Waldorf School, and those spooky residents in the Edgewater Towers Condominiums Homeowners Association rejected plans to replace the Jack-in-the-Box site with an oversized project that doesn’t follow the Community Plan and is located in a very high fire density zone.

But “There’s no need to fear, UNDERDOG is here!”

And Bonin jumped out of his office and spoke to the Planning Commission on behalf of the community – no wait, he didn’t listen to local residents and organizations. But somehow, the commissioners got the impression that there was no low-income housing in Pacific Palisades. Now where would they get that idea?

Luckily UNDERDOG stood right up to the PLUM committee and set them straight. No, wait, he didn’t show up at that meeting, nor the one that followed. The first meeting was a violation of the Brown Act and had to be reheard.

This would be the view from the sidewalk of the proposed building that doesn’t follow the Community Plan and is opposed by all major town organizations.


Those menacing villains (aka residents on and near Marquez Avenue) expect developers to follow the law, be honest on applications and insist that the City not automatically give Coastal Commission approval, until the Planning Department actually sees the building plans. Well, I never!

Luckily, UNDERDOG sings:

“I am a hero who never fails,

I cannot be bothered with such details.”

Unconscionable. How can UNDERDOG deal with these residents who pay taxes, but refuse to donate to certain reelection committees or special funds?

How can UNDERDOG let the misguided masses know that houses the size of Westminster Abbey are totally appropriate?

One neighbor characterized this oversized house as “Westminister Abbey.”

Our hero snaps into action in 2020 and urges City planners to establish a new law, singing:

“When in this world the headlines read

Of those whose hearts are filled with greed

Who rob and steal from those who need

To right this wrong with blinding speed

Goes UNDERDOG! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder

Fighting all who rob or plunder”

Councilman Mike Bonin

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8 Responses to Viewpoint: UNDERDOG Will Save the Day

  1. Gretchen Arnold says:

    And yet , some voted for this guy … you get what you pay for ..

  2. john achen says:

    I have a question about all the cement pipes being stored along PCH at the near mouth of Potrero Canyon . Do you know what these pipes are going to be used for and how long they are going to be there? They are an eyesore

    I read in CTN all the wonderful thing that are going to take place when Potrero Canyon is finished. I have a couple of questions about what department is going to keep the homeless population from setting up residency in Potrero Canyon?

    I also question the ongoing maintenance with the crushed granite pathway based on what has happen to Temescal Canyon crushed granite paths and and the picnic areas. Most of the original structures have been removed and not been replaced. In the past someone questioned when the structures were going to replaced and the reply was the city motto “the city doesn’t have the funds to maintain the area(s)”

    Just wondering

  3. Jan says:

    Well said. Some members of our community voted for underdog, and we all pay his salary. Why isn’t he working for us? Hopefully we’ll have a better choice of candidates in the next election cycle.

  4. Friedrich Wilhelm Kastner says:

    There is still truth to Mark Twain’s comment that
    This country has the best government money can buy.

  5. Sue says:


    At the next PCH Task Force meeting this coming week, I’ll ask Caltrans about the cement pipes (Caltrans owns the land closest to PCH, where the pipes are situated). We have been told that that the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero will only be open from dawn to dusk–and supposedly, the Coastal Commission only approved the sale of lots with money going into the formation of the park, if a maintenance fund was set up.

    Optimistically–I’m sure that the homeless will abide by park closure hours and if they don’t prompt City action, including sending in police will be taken.

    Hold it. . .didn’t our Councilman vote to defund LAPD? I believe he did. In that case, I’m sure alternate social workers and mental health professionals will ensure that no one will be able to set up camp in Very High Fire Severity Zones.

    As far as maintenance . . .let’s hope there’s some money left because change orders and cost overruns on Potrero have eaten away millions.

  6. LV says:

    “I’m sure that the homeless will abide by park closure hours and if they don’t prompt City action, including sending in police will be taken”

    Uuh, really?! Just like all the other encampments that are regulated with high efficiency, I suppose.

  7. Tom Meade says:

    Good thinking . . .

    The earnestness in Mr. Bonin’s pic merits a second glance.

  8. Helen says:

    I wonder if PPRA and PPCC have joined the effort to support SB-55 by senators Stern and Allen?
    If I understand this proposed bill correctly it might stop the developments in very high fire severity zone.
    Maybe we should start a petition in support of this bill, so it’d go into effect asap?

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