Road Diet Foes (updated: ALMOST) File For Recall Against L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin

Recall Bonin press conference this morning. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Recall Bonin press conference this morning. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Updated 4:45 p.m.: An anonymous source tipped off SBLA that the Recall Bonin committee was unable to file their recall notice of intent today as they needed five signatures to file, but they only had four. They instead plan to mail in the signed document later this week.

Updated 9:15 a.m. Tuesday October 31: L.A. City Clerk Media Coordinator Sandra Mendoza confirmed that, as of this morning, the Bonin Recall proponents have not filed their notice of intention with the City Clerk.

The “Recall Bonin” committee announced that it is filing papers today to begin the official process towards a recall election against L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin. Bonin championed Vision Zero and westside road diet safety measures that included road diets in Playa Del Rey and Mar Vista. Those safety improvements precipitated a backlash that has included lawsuits, angry public testimony, and fundraising for this campaign to recall Bonin.

This morning, four foes of the westside road diets held a press conference announcing that they are filing a notice of intent to recall with the L.A. City Clerk. Gathered at this morning’s L.A. City Hall press event were:

  • Alexis Edelstein, Recall Bonin Co-Chair
  • Alix Gucovsky, Recall Bonin Co-Chair
  • Demetrios Mavromichalis, owner Venice Grind
  • Mark Ryavec, President of the Venice Stakeholders Association

Edelstein said that the committee has raised “close to $100,000,” though he declined to answer questions about specific large donations, stating that the information would be released in later public filings with the city. Edelstein was quoted in September in the L.A. Times saying that “the campaign aims to raise at least $200,000 to hire professionals to help with the signature effort.”

These road diet foes railed against Bonin’s implementation of lane reductions, which are proven safety measures, and at the same time blamed Bonin for the deaths of several pedestrians who were struck by  drivers. Edelstein specifically blamed Bonin for three pedestrians deaths: two deaths on Vista Del Mar – Naomi Larsen and Michael Lockridge – and last week’s death of Damon Shear on Pacific Avenue.

Opposing road diets while blaming Bonin for traffic deaths is duplicitous. Bonin has been among the council’s most courageous advocates for traffic safety, especially in citywide plans and policies, including Mobility Plan 2035 and Vision Zero.

Southern California Families for Safe Streets issued a statement criticizing the recall proponents’ misleading attempt to exploit Shear’s death:

As family members who have lost loved ones through similar situations, our hearts go out to the Shears. No family should ever have to suffer such a sudden, senseless loss. Better street design could have prevented this tragedy, and can prevent so many others. But any anger directed at Councilmember Bonin is misguided and tied to a troubling recall campaign that actually aims to unseat the most vocal, persistent, and passionate champion for safe streets in Los Angeles. Councilmember Bonin led the charge to fully fund and implement safe streets projects throughout Los Angeles. With so much work ahead of us, we must not lose sight of who our true allies are.

Today’s speakers complained of the city Mobility Plan’s inclusion of “19 road reconfigurations” in Bonin’s district. When questioned by reporters, they backed off this statement, saying that the plan calls for “calming measures” and that they have “repeatedly asked” Bonin, who has “not denied” the claim.

Several times Ryavec identified himself as the runner-up to Bonin in the March 2017 primary election. That election returned Bonin to office with 71 percent of the vote; Ryavec received 15.7 percent.

Bonin supporters have begun the process of organizing against the recall. Readers interested in signing up to receive updates on pro-Bonin efforts should submit contact information at Reject the Recall.

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