“I’ve struggled for years with depression. It’s a constant companion, and often a heavy one. There are times when this job has made that easier, and times when it has made it more challenging. Instead of seeking another term, it’s time for me to focus on health and wellness,” Bonin wrote on Twitter.
Today I announced I’ve decided not to seek reelection to the LA City Council.
This is a difficult, deeply personal decision, and I’ve wrestled with it for several days, but I’m confident it is the right choice for the right reasons. (thread)
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) January 27, 2022
The District 11 councilman, who is one of the City Council’s most progressive members, won his last election in 2017 with 71% of the vote. He had previously announced he would seek reelection to the district that includes Venice, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista and Westchester.
Bonin was the target of a recall effort in 2021. Los Angeles City Clerk Holly L. Wolcott announced last week that the effort failed to receive enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The recall campaign was begun by constituents upset with Bonin’s handling of the homelessness crisis. Bonin, who has spoken openly about his own time on the streets of L.A., has advocated for a housing-first approach instead of enforcement to remove encampments.
Bonin has consistently voted against his colleagues’ proposals to enforce the city’s anti-camping law, which went into effect in September, banning encampments at various locations across the city once a motion for the locations is approved by the City Council.
“This position allows me to make positive, progressive change. It is a great privilege. But in the past few years, the job has forced me to focus much more of my time and energy on battling the negative instead of creating the positive. I need to reverse that dynamic,” Bonin tweeted.
“To those who are disappointed by my decision, I am sorry. It is very difficult to walk away from a third term, and the work we have been doing together, but I need to listen to my heart. This is the best decision for me and my family.”
Bonin added that he would continue to fight “for a better L.A.” and focus on homelessness, racial and economic justice and the climate crisis after leaving office in December.
Bonin said he’ll focus his remaining 10 months on the council “fighting for low-wage workers, renters, seniors, students, bus riders, and the unhoused — who are being demonized and scapegoated by politicians, media figures and some in our neighborhoods.”
Along with Bonin’s progressive efforts related to the city’s homelessness crisis, he was an early leader of the city’s efforts to transition the Department of Water and Power to 100% renewable energy by 2035 and increase the minimum wage in the city to $15.
Bonin co-introduced an April 2017 motion that set the city on a path to ban oil and gas drilling, a first step in the process that resulted in the City Council on Wednesday voting to officially begin the process of banning future oil and gas well and phasing out existing oil drilling sites.
Constituents who tried to recall Bonin cited encampments along the Venice boardwalk and other areas of the Westside. Bonin was praised by progressives for conducting a successful pathway to housing operation over summer on the boardwalk, which brought 213 people indoors with a pathway to permanent housing, instead of enforcement.
Some constituents expressed frustration after tents returned to the boardwalk months after the operation.
Bonin also faced increased backlash from constituents after introducing a motion to have the city explore housing homeless people in temporary cabins and safe camping sites on beach parking lots, including one at Will Rogers State Beach.
Bonin later sent an email to constituents in May in an attempt to dispel what he said were rumors that his motion, which asked only for a report on feasibility, would actually create encampments.
City News Service contributed to this report.