Recall Builds Against Mike Bonin as L.A. Residents Reject Plan to House Homeless Near Beach

Mike Bonin (Michael Tullberg / Getty)
Michael Tullberg / Getty

Los Angeles residents are signing petitions for the recall of city council member Mike Bonin, as public outrage against his efforts to house the city’s homeless at the beach continues to grow.

The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend on the deteriorating conditions near Venice Beach, which has always attracted eccentric people but has become so unlivable that residents are afraid to walk there or even to look at what is happening in tent cities on their doorstep:

A little over a decade ago, things began to change. The neighborhood took on some harder edges, more people began camping along the boardwalk, and the Krauses no longer felt as safe as they once had.

“I’d say it really exploded about three years ago,” said Arthur.

Tents multiplied, and the beach became an open-air clinic for the poor, the addicted and those in physical or mental distress.

“I see people wake up, lower their pants and go to the bathroom,” Rini said. “The beach is supposed to be for everybody.”

The couple profiled in the Times article told the newspaper that they intend to sign the petition for Bonin’s recall.

Bonin has become the focus of public ire, since he has championed the idea of providing housing near the beach. Pacific Palisades Residents Association president Jessica Rogers told Breitbart News Sunday that Bonin’s proposal to build so-called “temporary” housing shelters on parking lots near the beach owned by Los Angeles County would cut off poor Angelenos from essential public recreation amenities, and was also inhumane to the homeless who would live there.

Rogers spoke to Breitbart News Sunday on an evening when those same parking lots were filled with people from all over the city — not just the relatively wealthy neighborhoods nearby.

A few weeks ago, the parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach — a potential homeless housing site — was a staging post for emergency vehicles and personnel battling the Palisades Fire. Bonin has defended his plan, which was approved for study by a city council committee last month, as an effort to reclaim other public spaces from being overrun by homeless people. But the Venice Neighborhood Council has already voted “no confidence” in Bonin over another “temporary” project in the area that has become unmanageable.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom claim that their policy on homeless is succeeding. They are using state and federal money to pay for hotel rooms for the homeless, and even buying hotels.

But the problem has not gone away, as critics argue that the new benefits are creating more incentives for homeless people to come to California. Root causes — especially substance abuse and mental illness — are largely unaddressed.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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