Bonin Elected to L.A. City Council Seat Representing Venice
Mike Bonin stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight Tuesday as voters in a landslide elected him to the Los Angeles City Council seat representing Venice and other Westside communities.
Bonin, 45, eluded a run-off election in May by gaining 61 percent of the vote in the four-person race to replace incumbent City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has represented the 11th District on the City Council since 2005. Rosendahl announced in October that he would not be seeking re-election in order to focus on his fight with cancer and endorsed Bonin, his longtime chief of staff, to replace him on the council.
Bonin also previously served in 2003-2004 as district director and deputy chief of staff for retired Rep. Jane Harman, who represented the Westside and South Bay in Congress for 16 years, and before that worked for seven years for City Councilmember Ruth Galanter as legislative deputy, district director and deputy chief of staff.
None of the other three candidates in the race to replace Rosendahl could match Bonin’s prolific fundraising, slew of endorsements and professional organization. City prosecutor Tina Hess finished second in Tuesday’s primary with 18 percent of the vote, followed by community advocate and bartender Frederick Sutton with 12 percent and Westchester teacher Odysseus Bostick with 9 percent. Bonin had 17,566 votes cast in his favor, while Hess was a distant second with 5,155 votes.
Bonin was elected to a 3-year term on the council since he gained more than 50 percent of the vote. The position comes with an annual salary of about $180,000. The 11th Council District includes Venice, Mar Vista, Del Rey, West L.A., Playa del Rey, Westchester, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood.
As a member of the City Council governing the nation’s second-largest city, Bonin and his colleagues will find themselves grappling with a severe budget deficit, looming labor negotiations with public employee unions, sidewalks and streets badly in need of repair, perennial automobile traffic and a 10 percent unemployment rate.
Bonin, a longtime Venice resident who recently moved to Mar Vista, made campaign promises that included: increased parking for Venice residents and local businesses; implementing a ban on chain stores that threaten the neighborhood’s character; promoting the emerging Silicon Beach tech sector; returning revenue from city-owned parking lots back to Venice for local improvement projects, and fighting noise, pollution and traffic from Santa Monica Airport.
Bonin is a member of St. Monica’s Church in Santa Monica and lives with his partner, Sean Arian. He also was a former newspaper reporter in South Los Angeles and graduated from Harvard University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in United States History.
Turnout citywide was low with only 16 percent of registered voters casting ballots in the primary election that also included contests for mayor, city attorney, city controller, eight of the 15 seats on the city council and three school board seats.
In other election developments, incumbent Los Angeles Unifed School Board member Steve Zimmer held a 52 percent lead over challenger Kate Anderson, 48 percent, with all precincts reporting and some absentee ballots uncounted. If Zimmer’s lead holds up, he will again represent the sprawling 4th District, which includes Venice schools. The winner of the primary contest will take the board seat since there were only two candidates competing.
The top two finishers in the eight-person race for mayor, City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel, will face each other in a May 21 general municipal election and incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will face challenger Mike Feuer, also. The general election contest for City Controller will pit City Councilman Dennis Zine against business owner Ron Galperin.