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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Recall Bonin Campaign 2017 Update


By Alexis Edelstein

We’ve used these past couple of weeks to reflect over the last six months and carefully plan for the year ahead.  It’s evident that there’s a significant appetite, in the community, to remove Bonin from office.  He has four long years left in his term and if we’re to succeed we need to make sure the necessary resources are had to prevail.  Nothing would be worse than initiating the signature gathering process, spending thousands of dollars and coming up short.  Below we spell out our updated estimates and what we believe is needed to succeed.

From Grassroots to a Movement
This campaign started unexpectedly as a reaction to the Councilman Mike Bonin’s illogical and unilateral actions on traffic throughout the district – lane diets, mass developments, zoning changes – and quickly evolved into a movement as Bonin has continued to show his incompetence and negligence on issues regarding our overall
His negligence has cost the lives of at least five innocent pedestrians and his incompetence in curtailing the inhumane living conditions experienced by Los Angeles’ less fortunate has led to the largest fire disaster in our city’s history.
From an economic standpoint we could not have envisioned a more disastrous combination.  Bonin has also led the literal strangulation of small businesses in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista (and will continue to do so with additional traffic reconfigurations across District 11) and, in a move that mafia would be envious of, Bonin has championed the monopolization of waste removal for commercial properties and multi-unit dwellings throughout the district.  This last unilateral move has already increased costs on small businesses up to 500% and will also trickle down to those who own or rent in multi-unit buildings as well.

Our Goal Remains Unchanged
The Recall campaign is moving forward.  It will not cease until Mike Bonin is replaced.  We have a councilman representing us that at best is incapable of leading and at worst belongs jail.

Bonin is divisive, it’s the only way he can garner any ‘support’.  He’s incompetent, how else can you explain his inability to get simple safety solutions installed after they have been requested and budgeted by LADTO and USDOT over four years ago.  He’s elusive, he refuses to meet with constituents, do interviews or have inquisitive town halls.  His only concern is the corporate class, he goes out of his way to cater to large corporate interests like Snapchat and institutional developers.  He does not represent the people of District 11 and as such does not have our best interest in mind.

Where We Stand
Over the past five months we’ve received almost 500 individual donations totaling just under $100,000!  That’s amazing especially considering we’re a grassroots organization that does not have the support of any political party, special interest organization or rich patrons.  And although we were able to gain major victories in Playa del Rey and effectively put Bonin on notice, (he’s taken on added head count, started a PAC, and rallied his goons to fight the Recall) our fundraising targets that would have ensured our success in the signature gathering phase were not met.

From a budgetary standpoint although we were only able to reach two thirds of our donations target for the year we managed to spend less than half, 47% of our estimated budget.  Leaving our cash on hand at $20,633 and a positive start to 2018.

-Based on our initial calculations we estimated a need of at least $200,000 to initiate the 120-day signature gathering phase.  This was based off multiple conversations with a wide array of political consultants.  Also playing against our favor was a record year in state wide initiatives that resulted in an increased demand of signature gathers and effectively increased our cost of success.

Moving Forward
Over the past few weeks we’ve re-evaluated the political calendar and landscape and have identified two potential scenarios with which to proceed.

-A June scenario and a November scenario. -
To initiate a June scenario, we would need to raise an additional $400,000 by June.  This would only be feasible if we’re able to get a political party, major organization or rich patron to back the campaign.  A more likely November scenario would require us to raise an additional $300,000 by November.

Why is June more than November?  Because the midterm elections, a June primary and a November general, will increase demand on signature gathers as they work to register voters and get out the vote.

Learnings from Past Year
Inclusivity:  We need to do a better job of reaching out to the multitude of grassroots groups across the district.  Selling them on how removing Bonin is a win-win and a much more effective solution compared to the multiple lawsuits that are currently being pursued.
Beginning in January we will be publishing a calendar of town hall events that the Recall will be holding across the district in all the major neighborhoods and inviting local grassroots groups to join in sharing their vision with the community.

Volunteers:  There are multiple people that have come to the campaign and asked to volunteer, our challenge is identifying our needs and matching them with our volunteer pool.  To succeed here we will need someone from the community to step up and help take on this challenge.  Every single volunteer matters but it all starts here.  If you’re serious in seeing the Recall succeed, then we need you to step up!

Replacement Candidates:  Probably the number one question we get!  “If Bonin goes who will replace him and what if they’re worse?”  First let me assure you that by definition no one could be worse.  This is because Bonin is part of the political machine that runs LA City Hall.  He is a puppet (I’m being kind) and beholden to the institutional developers and establishment political hacks that prioritize their political careers over the needs of the people (can you say Garcetti?). 

This establishment will not run a candidate in the Recall, Bonin can’t run either:  The recall election ballot will have a Yes/No question for the recall and if you vote Yes you are then asked to select the replacement candidate.  The establishment would only help in seeing the recall succeed if they ran someone and they don’t want that. 

Why the replacement will have to do a better job:  The replacement, whoever they are, will be exposed to the same recall process as Bonin but one that would be funded by the establishment meaning that in order to avoid being recalled themselves they will have to be doing the work of the people and make sure that their actions are well received and in the interest of the constituents, something Bonin knows nothing about.

All that being said, we, the constituents of District 11, need people to step up and put their name in the hat.  The more candidates we have the better our chances of success are at a recall.  That’s because each candidate and their campaign will be rallying up voters to vote Yes to the recall and vote for them.  If you’ve ever considered running now is the time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Rumor:  Did the Recall hit a bump in the road because the Affidavit was not signed?
No, this is false.  As we stated in November the ad in the Argonaut was improperly submitted.  The now infamous Affidavit page was left out by mistake.  The Affidavit was signed by all proponents when the initial recall was filed.  This page has been up on our website since day one and has been shared multiple times.  http://bit.ly/2l6BMVi
The rumor that the Affidavit was not signed can be attributed to #Fakenews outlets like StreetsBlogLA and political bullies like the people that run Bonin’s reject the recall pages.  Ultimately this would have only been a minor hiccup as we could have refiled without any difficulty.  The reason we held off on the signature gather phase is explained in the statement above.

Rumor:  The Recall Election will cost taxpayers millions of unnecessary dollars.
Partially False.  It will have a cost, everything does.  However, you cannot put a price on democracy.  We also can’t afford to continue to have Bonin as our councilman.  The city has already paid out $9.5M in a settlement due to Bonin’s incompetence and arrogance.  He failed to have Vista del Mar secured after LADOT had made that specific request and then in a show of the utmost arrogance he failed to show when he was subpoenaed by the court to testify.  Another four lawsuits are currently being deliberated regarding three additional different incidents, all of which will be costlier than a recall election.

Rumor:  70% of the people voted for Bonin.
Partially False.  Only 18% of the registered voters (not even the eligible voters) showed up to vote in March.  Of the 18% it’s true that 70% voted for Bonin but if you do the math that’s only 12% of the registered voters.  On top of that, Bonin spent a whopping $35 per vote received that’s 150% more than the second-place candidate and 400% more per vote than the third-place candidate.

Rumor:  The Recall is funded by the alt right, right wing money or Steve Bannon.
False on all accounts.  We have always maintained that we are nonpartisan, as such we have supporters and donors who run the entire political gamete.  Because these are private individuals we don’t question their political leanings, but I can personally attest to having donors who have supported Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  The article that was published in Yo Venice! alluding to having ‘prominent donors’ who donated over $500,000 to GOP causes and Donald Trump is misleading.  It’s true that out of our almost 500 donors one or two have donated significant amounts of money to a wide range of political campaigns over the past ten years but this group (if you can call two people that) have accounted for less than 3% of the Recall’s donations.  In fact, donations have come evenly from Democrats and Republicans with the Democrats having a slight advantage in the number of donations, the amount per donation and the total amount donated vs Republicans.  More impressive in my opinion is the vast majority of donations that have come from independent voters.

Rumor:  Alexis Edelstein is alt right, white supremist, anti-immigrant, anti-Latino and using campaign as a personal cash windfall.I’ve debated whether or not to address these questions.  Mainly because the campaign is about recalling Bonin and political questions should be focused on actions and inactions attributed to Bonin.  Also, because these accusations are so ridicules and childish that anyone with access to Google and a smidgen of common sense would be able to figure out they are lies.

Bonin’s office and his goons purposefully put out misinformation in an attempt to distract from Bonin’s inadequacies and lack of a successful track record.  Their hope is to have me over react and make categorical statements that would seem to pull the campaign way to the left thus politicizing the campaign.

Allow me to step into the spot light for a brief minute and categorically deny all the false accusations.  I’m not alt right, I was and am a Bernie Sanders supporter, I was a proud delegate for Bernie at last years DNC and have been transparent about this from day one.  However, this has nothing to do with the Recall Campaign and I’m happy to say that we have a wide array of political backgrounds working on the campaign. 

I’m not anti-Latino or anti-immigrant.  I’m both an immigrant and Latino, I was born in Argentina and am a naturalized USA Citizen. 

Lastly over the past couple of days Steve Barkan, Bonin’s campaign consultant has accused the campaign of being a “moneymaking scam” used to make a personal profit.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  First let me point out that Steve Barkan works for SG&A, a political consulting firm that took over $83,000 from Bonin’s office in 2017 alone for his March re election.  That’s $83,000 for three months!  We have always been transparent and from day one on the campaigns donation page the budget is spelled out A line item of $6,650 is slated for fixed expenses including web/admin/outreach/marketing/phone/print. https://www.recallbonin.com/donate  I’ve also lent the campaign $20,000 of my own money meaning that as of today I have a negative cash flow of $14,000.  Finally, I have an MBA and over 20 years of corporate experience.  If I chose to, I could get a job in the private sector making well over the amount of money I’ve collected from the over 60 hours a week I’ve put into the campaign.  To me the Recall is a passion project!

Good, now that we’re done with the distractions let’s get back to work!

The Numbers:

Donations to date:           476
Amount raised:                 $94,121*
*Includes a $20,000 loan from Alexis Edelstein to the Recall Campaign
2017 Projected vs Actual
Projected:                $112,400
Actual:                       $53,487

Projected:                $112,400
Actual:                       $74,121

Cash on Hand
Projected:                            $0
Actual:                       $20,633

Comments (7)

  1. Art Dodger

    The entire recall effort has reeked of self-promotion. Could this all be happening because Alexis has been trying unsuccessfully to start his own political career? He has previously said that he is running for Congress against Ted Lieu, but Alexis’ campaign for Congress had only raised three dollars before he took down the fundraising page. I believe that the real reason why Alexis has launched this recall effort is simple and shameful self-promotion. If this recall proves successful Alexis’ recall will be the headline in all of L.A county. The recall has already allowed Alexis to frequent alt-right radio programs to promote and solicit funds for the recall, and every time he has gone on these shows to cozy up to racist shock jocks, he has made sure to use the social media accounts he set up for the recall to share his media appearances and promote himself. The voters of CD 11 made their voices heard loud and clear during March’s Election, but Alexis is behaving like a scheming opportunist who is blatantly rallying against Bonin because he thinks it will get him some press and boost his fledgling political career.

    What happened to transparency!? More than half of the donations Alexis has solicited have been pledged anonymously, which is odd considering that Alexis claims to support Bernie Sanders, who has made improving transparency in campaigns a major part of his agenda. Is the oil and gas industry donating to Alexis’ dark money committee to try and get rid of one of the most consistently pro-environment councilmembers? Is it the developers Mike has stood up to and fought for more affordable housing or open space in our neighborhoods? Is it Mike’s recent election opponents, who were calling for a recall before polls even closed on election night? (Hint: it is absolutely, at least in part, this last one.)

    I do not write this lightly. There was a time in my life that I truly admired Alexis and the passion for the progressive movement he used to demonstrate. His online political activism is what prompted me to run as a delegate for Bernie Sanders, I even convinced a few other friends to join the movement. But as my involvement increased, other Bernie supporters confided in me about the extensive trolling that they faced at the hands of Alexis whenever they challenged or disagreed with him. Alexis reported Bernie delegates as Hillary plants and would embark on extensive character assassination campaigns against anyone who he viewed as a threat in his pursuit of a leadership position. He is a well-known cyber bully, and I have seen this first hand on social media (and I am sure that will be his immediate reaction to this post). This effort to recall Mike Bonin crosses the line! I am compelled to ask true Berniecrats to join me in denouncing Alexis’ actions and to preserve the integrity of the progressive identity in California.

    It is time to drop it, Alexis. You call yourself a progressive. Act like it! We should be building coalitions to address the issues that impact CD11 residents and not embarking on self- adulation campaigns.

  2. Will

    Wow…this is just an astonishing read. Over the last year you managed to raise just $74,000 from 476 people (average of $150 per person) and now you need to raise an additional $400,000 over the next six months just to get the necessary signatures to start recall. And then you need another $300k by November??? How do you intend to raise $700,000 in 6-8 months when you haven’t even raised $100,000 over the course of a year? And what you want to spend to get Bonin fired is twice as much money as all three of the candidates spent on their campaigns during the last election. This is complete madness.

    Tell you what…Give me $150,000 and I’ll expand our Homeless Reunification Peogram into a full-time non-profit that would house 500 people in 2018, cutting homelessness in Venice in half.

    • Ok,I’m finally tired of the conundrum of verbage. WILL,
      First of all, at least start off by being honest. For the record, this is not YOUR inspired homeless reunification program. This very plan had been generated and implemented within the Homeless community for many yeats by Pastor Steven Weller and I. We’ve quietly managed to do a lot with very little funding, placing over 400 into housing, rehab, and return home just in the last few years. Some of the larger service organizations and some individuals (needing the notoriety) have utilized our effective ideas and have claimed these as their own in the public forum, much like you do here in your statements. At first, Pastor Steve and I only mused about it, prefering to stay under the radar and save our energy to provide swift and direct help to our homeless neighbors and provide some levity to the residents. I mean, that’s the goal in all of this, right? And then we also thought it a good thing that at least more people would be taken OFF the street by those organizations utilizing our successful methodology. I do applaud these successful outcomes. And as expected, these methods have also been useful for you and the VNC in sending people back to their families of origin. Moreover, even with your short span in Venice, you are well aware and so is the Councilman and everyone else who has their nose in this very topic, that the Homeless Task Force has proven in numbers, to be the best at safe haven placements, and most cost effective. Yet you did not state or promote here for any funding for the Homeless Task Force to continue the goodwill toward our unhoused neighbors and victimized residents? We find ourselves constantly left out of the equation. Why is that? Most likely, because the human ego can be a dangerous thing, wanting to be exalted at the expense of truth and at the expense of others. Here you ask for funding to march into victory. HOMElESSNESS IS A HEART PROBLEM, not just a funding problem – well evidenced by the HUGE amounts being poured out over Los Angeles in the last two years via taxpayers, only to have a recent report of increase by about 10,000 people. The California Homeless Rush is happening! Most I meet in Venice have come in from other states.

      Sadly, the travesty of rising homelesness in this community and across the nation, can only and firstly be remedied by honesty and self sacrifice, and the absence of self-fulfilling egos for those who are committed to the challenge of helping human beings in crisis. Many of the disenfranchised will certainly come to the place you are guiding them to, if they can sense these benevolent qualities in you. More dedication, more action, less self promotion, and direct care in providing real homes for the suffering in front of us, whether we think they deserve it or not, will provide a DECREASE on the streets.
      But who is willing to go to go to that level of earnestness? You are clearly articulate and posed with gifting for the political arena. Maybe you believe you are equipped for the arduous task at hand? May I suggest then, that instead of a flippant request for funding right now, that you first pull some money out of your own pocket, give credit where credit is due, resolve to possibly become unpopular with those who lack courage to speak the truth, and then, my brother, Let Love Abound.

      I wish you well in your endeavors.

      Chaplain Regina Weller
      Homeless Task Force

      • Will

        Hi Regina,
        Thank you again for reminding me that while we’re new at this and excited about our accomplishments there are many people like you and Steve who have worked tirelessly for decades to help improve homeless situation here in our community.

        The Homeless Task Force is an important and integral part of the Venice Community and the work you and your husband have done as members of the Four Square Church has been amazing. I would never compare the work of our small volunteer reunification effort through the Venice Homeless Committee to the far-reaching and on-going work that people like yourself execute on a day-to-day basis. And I apologize if the way I’ve promoted our reunification efforts have offended you and others in the non-profit community. We just wanted the community to be as excited about our work as we are.

        What most people don’t know is that the reunification program we execute is mostly funded by my own money and powered by the endless volunteer efforts of those who sit with me on the Venice Homeless Committee. We haven’t received any city funding and work 100% on donations on top of what I’ve personally invested in the program. I’d rather not put a dollar amount to that, but you know better than anyone exactly how much it costs to get 30+ people off the street. And over that time I have also donated money to your efforts as well. Only a few close friends and associates were aware of this as I had intended to give anonymously. But now you know.

        Thanks again for reminding me that we have a lot to learn from strong leaders like yourself – and only together can we all work to improve lives of both the housed and unhoused here in Venice. I apologize if anything was lost in translation. We’re all just trying to make a difference the best way we know how. I hope we can use this experience to learn more about each other so that we can continue to do great things together for the people in Venice in 2018 and beyond.

        Will Hawkins
        Chairman, Venice Homeless Committee
        Community Officer, Venice Neighborhood Council

        • Will
          I appreciate and accept your apology. I know that the VNC is on the right track as evidenced by your placements, and well understand the excitement and enjoyment that goes along with it. Just don’t bash anymore – you are too intelligent, very capable, and most definitely have natural leadership qualities.

          I applaud every good action that takes a person off the street, no matter who that organization is. And we all have our different methods, because we have different personalities and different gifting and talents. You will help people that I couldn’t possibly place, because of certain factors and parameters of our organization’s inner workings, and HTF will place some that you cannot click with for variable reasons.

          It’s a New Year and in all sincerity, I wish you, the VNC, SPY, St. Josephs’, DMH, VCH, the John and Heidi Roberts Project, 1736 Crisis Center, Teen Project, LAHSA, PATH, Rose Clinic, etc., PROSPERITY in all that you do! We are all going to need it as the numbers climb.

          Chaplain Regina Weller
          Executive Director
          Homeless Task Force

          • Will

            Than you Regjna, I’m so glad we’re on the same page. Hoping to catch up and connect with you face-to-face very soon.

    • Roger of Venice

      Homeless reunification program is a big scam. The homeless need a good old Venice knuckle sandwich program. Bonin needs to go no matter how much it costs period.

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