By allowing homeless encampments to spread and ignoring his critics, councilman’s inaction can be interpreted as indifference

By Nick Antonicello

The writer is a longtime Venice resident who was chairman of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Venice Cityhood. He is responding to part one of last week’s cover story interview “Bonin and the Homeless Crisis” (Part One).

As L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin desperately tries to resuscitate his reputation as an elected official, his basic tenor and demeanor have not changed in that residents of Venice are wrong — and he is right — when it comes to his failed record on homelessness.

The political narcissism, detachment from reality and now the “victimhood” expressed in this interview only demonstrates Bonin’s objective to deflect the fact that he has not only failed to fix or contain the issue of homelessness, but due to his inaction and unworkable solutions has made homelessness in Los Angeles a national discussion to the point that state and federal intervention is necessary.

The hard reality is that homelessness has escalated out of control on his watch and he is not willing to admit he is the algebraic constant in this public policy nightmare! With the Machiavellian Bonin, there is no dialogue, just a monologue — a lecture from someone who has no ability to listen. To see this one only had to attend the Venice Town Hall at Westminster Avenue Elementary School, where Bonin rolled his eyes and attacked the very residents he claims to represent with labels such as NIMBY, when the results of his inaction on homelessness have yet to impact his own residence.

Somehow Bonin views himself in myopic fashion as a crusader of good, and dismisses those who disagree with his public policy failures as evil millionaires who now populate Venice. But what about the struggling renters and senior citizens accosted by criminals who mindlessly roam streets where children, too, are now in harm’s way?

Drug addicts, alcoholics and the mentally disturbed are allowed to behave as they wish and occupy public and private walkways with Bonin’s approval and protection. His outright hatred for Venetians borders on the absurd — it’s as though people who simply want to be safe from the scourge of a problem Bonin has allowed to cascade out of control are somehow not Bonin’s problem, despite his long track record of playing political insider in L.A. City Hall.

Councilman Bonin is in fact part of the “generations of elected officials” he blames for his failure. He served as chief of staff to his predecessor and now has been in office for six years: At what point does he admit this is his problem, and the problem is now an epidemic run amok?

Bonin claims he supports different alternatives to supportive housing, but why does he advocate for traditional not-for-profits that don’t have the solutions and are gulping tens of millions of dollars in Proposition HHH funding with little if anything to show for it?

Incredibly, Bonin tries to paint himself as an outsider when in fact he’s an embedded political insider — a creature of politics as usual! How can he construct serious public policy solutions while basically ignoring hundreds of Venetians seeking input and avoid meaningful dialogue with them, as witnessed at the town hall? Bonin’s condescending monologue eats away at local democracy, to the point that Venice residents are seriously considering secession from L.A. as a viable alternative to what’s become a mess as far as the eye can see.

The Abbot Kinney Festival is probably the most well attended event in Venice, and it’s common for community groups and elected officials to host information booths to communicate with us who live here.

State Sen. Ben Allen had a booth, as did L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. The Argonaut had one too.

But where was Councilman Bonin? His obvious and intentional absence is clear evidence of his attitude toward this community and the people who live here. He’s an ineffective and disrespectful politician who just doesn’t get it and never will.