October 24, 2021 Your Source for Brentwood News

Let’s Stop the Partisan Nonsense and Deal in Reality

By Jeff Hall

As you might have heard, Mike Bonin’s committee to fight the recall effort against him put out several electronic communications (email, video, tweets) naming the names – and revealing the home addresses – of some of those leading the recall effort against Bonin. 

Mike Bonin’s messaging claims the recall effort is some kind of Republican-led, right-wing conspiracy against him. This was part of a fundraising effort. 

A few days later, two rocks got thrown through the front door glass window of one of the Recall Bonin 2021 co-chairs, Katrina Schmitt.

Revealing personal information like home addresses online is often referred to as “doxing,” which can be considered illegal in the State of California, depending on intent and other criteria.

Bonin and his team quickly said the video showing the addresses was done inadvertently and the addresses were then redacted (and the video reposted with names, but not addresses). 

One person whose name and address were shown was the lawyer who submitted the paperwork on behalf of the recall effort. He is a Republican, from Orange County. His specialty is election law and he was paid $1,000 for his services and plays no policy-making role in Recall Bonin 2021. 

Katrina and her Recall Bonin 2021 co-chair, Nico Ruderman – also included in the video – are lifelong Democrats, voted for Mike Bonin and voted to keep Gavin Newsom in office. 

Any implication they are part of a right-wing, Republican anti-Bonin effort is verifiably false and ridiculous. 

Have Schmitt and Ruderman, both Venice residents, soured on Bonin in recent years? Without a doubt. Are they right-wing crazies? No way.

I can assure you, from talking to lots of people across the entire Westside, this recall effort is about as nonpartisan or bipartisan as they come. 

Democrats far outnumber Republicans in CD11, so if this recall effort really is being embraced by Republicans only, Bonin should have nothing to worry about. 

But Bonin does have something to worry about, and he knows it. Many Democrats are signing the recall petition, hoping this term will be Mike Bonin’s last. 

Had Mike Bonin been doing a good job all along – especially when it comes to homelessness – there would be no recall effort. Under Bonin’s watch, homeless encampments have exploded across the district and his ideas for dealing with this humanitarian crisis seem particularly and predictably ineffectual.

Lucy Han, who lives in Playa del Rey, and Geff Deedrick of the LA Sheriff’s Department, talk about possible solutions to the homelessness issue at a recent backyard gathering in Brentwood.

Spending $650K or more for a handful of permanent housing units was an unaffordable extravagance – a huge public policy blunder, right up there with attacking Iraq. Very few homeless will be housed at this rate of spending.

Given the cost of this housing, LA will never be able to afford to put all the homeless in such beautiful units. It is projected the Measure HHH money will house maybe 5,700 homeless individuals and it could take several more years to complete the construction of this housing. 

It is said there are 66,000 homeless individuals in LA County, and some think the actual count is closer to 80,000. 

 If 5,700 lucky homeless individuals win the lottery, what about the other 60,300 homeless individuals left out on the streets?

Considering building encampments in our parks and near our beaches was as dumb as dumb can get. That idea, if implemented, would predictably prove a magnet for homeless all over the country. 

So, when Bonin sends out constant emails bragging about how he got 200 homeless individuals off Venice Beach, it feels like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Again, if 66,000 is an accurate number, what about the other 65,800 homeless? Rome – or LA, in this case – is burning.

And let’s be real: While Bonin takes credit for removing the 200 homeless individuals from Venice Beach, that never would have happened had Sheriff Villanueva not gone in there to stir things up.

Bonin claims his “progressive agenda” is under attack, but I, for the life of me, can’t figure out what’s “progressive” about leaving legions of homeless individuals on the streets for years and years while they wait for the beautiful and scandalously expensive permanent housing units to get built. This seems willfully cruel, not progressive.

Brian Ulf, who heads up SHARE, a program that puts together formerly homeless individuals into shared living spaces, also attended the Brentwood problem-solving meeting.

Claiming lifelong Democrats like Katrina Schmitt and Nico Ruderman are part of a right-wing plot is an attempt to distract, change the subject, shift the blame. This is what Bonin does best. 

I just interviewed Ruderman and Schmitt for a podcast I do. Go to TheLatestPodcast.com and look for episode 57, recorded on September 21. 

If you listen, I believe you will quickly conclude Schmitt and Ruderman aren’t partisan political operatives in cahoots with right-wing crazies; they are frustrated citizens, like many Westsiders. They didn’t go looking for trouble; trouble found them.

That Schmitt and Ruderman now feel personally threatened seems to be of little concern to Bonin and his anti-recall effort committee. As of this writing (September 22, 2021), six days after the window-smashing incident, nobody from Team Bonin has reached out to Schmitt or Ruderman to apologize.

While there is no direct evidence anyone from Team Bonin had anything to do with the rock-throwing incident, sending out incendiary and misleading messages with individuals’ names and addresses in a time of such political division is potentially a very dangerous activity, indeed – predictably so. 

One would think Bonin would quickly reach out to Schmitt and Ruderman and say something like, “If our ad in any way contributed to this sorry turn of events, you have my heartfelt apology.”

But that’s not Bonin’s style. 

I have never understood why Mike Bonin would so go out of his way to piss off so many in his own district the way he has. It doesn’t seem like a winning electoral strategy. 

I have always prided myself in keeping the Brentwood News completely neutral when it comes to politics. Over the years we have given all candidates for office equal ink and hosted candidate forums where all candidates from all parties were welcome. I think public service is a noble calling and have happily offered editorial support to those who do the hard work on our behalf. 

I just think things are getting really bad and it’s hard to sit on the sidelines and say nothing. But something has gone horribly off track in recent years. and it’s time for a return to common sense and sanity.

If my articles in recent months have seemed uncharacteristically caustic or opinionated, please consider these pieces my personal opinions, and not those of the Brentwood News. I do very little reporting of news these days – where you have to be scrupulously unbiased. I’ve been primarily writing an opinion column for many years now. Like anyone, I have opinions.

But please know, my opinions are not tainted by partisan politics; I’m about as nonpartisan as they come. Like Ruderman and Schmitt, I’m a lifelong Democrat (although, over the years, I have voted for Republicans on occasion). And, like Ruderman and Schmitt, I voted for Mike Bonin – twice. So something has changed to cause me to go on the way I have in recent months. 

Soon enough, the voters will decide if they want four more years of Mike Bonin – or if it’s time for something new. 

As we all evaluate this situation in our own ways, let’s not allow ourselves to become distracted by self-serving political ads, emails and social media posts that aren’t based on reality. 

We’re smarter than that. We deserve better.If you would like to weigh in, I can be reached at jeffhall@mirrormediagroupla.com

in Opinion
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