LOS ANGELES — A group leading an effort to recall City Councilman Mike Bonin over a series of lane reductions on Westside streets welcomed his announcement that some of the lanes are coming back in Playa del Rey and credited pressure from its members for the development.
Bonin announced on Facebook Oct. 2 that the city will be restoring a second westbound traffic lane on Culver and Jefferson boulevards.
The Recall Bonin campaign, which was formed after the lane closures were enacted over the summer, issued a statement saying the group “is happy to hear that Councilmember Mike Bonin has capitulated for the second time in as many months to public pressure placed on him by our efforts to recall him. As we celebrate our second big win, we recognize that Bonin’s decision was made under duress and under fear of being recalled.”
Bonin said the decision was made based on feedback from a community panel he had formed, the Playa del Rey Safer Streets Task Force.
“The plan was approved after the task force listened to the concerns of small businesses in Playa del Rey regarding increased traffic, and I’m very proud of the hard work that advocates, neighbors and business leaders on all sides of this issue have done to come to consensus on provide this quick relief to [Playa del Rey] businesses,” Bonin said in the Facebook post.
Bonin also said the changes were an interim measure to improve traffic while the task force continues to study more permanent solutions.
“It’s my hope that this first agreement on an issue of vital importance to [Playa del Rey] businesses will lead to greater cooperation on all sides, and a comprehensive solution for Playa del Rey that enhances street safety and minimizes traffic congestion,” Bonin said.
The city closed 9.4 miles of lanes over the summer along Venice Boulevard, Pershing Drive, Jefferson Boulevard, Vista del Mar and Culver Boulevard, reducing them one lane in each direction. Bonin called the changes a safety improvement while detractors called it “one-lane madness.” Other than the recall effort, two lawsuits also were filed over the lane reductions.
Bonin announced in July that the city would return a lane to Vista del Mar, conceding that “most people outright hated” the change. He also announced that he would be forming the traffic task force, which was comprised of residents who both support and oppose the changes.
Bonin has represented the Westside’s District 11 since 2013, and he was easily re-elected in March with 71 percent of the vote. To initiate a recall election, around 27,000 signatures, representing 15 percent of registered voters in the district, would need to be gathered.
Recent history shows the recall of a City Council member is an uphill battle.
Councilman Paul Krekorian was re-elected in District 2 in 2015 with 74 percent of the vote, and an effort was launched to recall him in 2016 by residents upset about development issues, but they were unable to collect enough signatures. A recall effort against former Councilman Jack Weiss also failed in 2007 because enough signatures were not gathered.