Fact Check

The misleading and wasteful recall campaign against Mike Bonin is based on lies. Find out more about the lies the recall leaders have been telling (and the truth they are distorting) below. 


LIE: Recall leaders repeatedly claim -- and widely perpetuate in press and social media -- that Bonin and the City plan to reduce lanes on 19 Major Streets in District 11 -- and they keep listing major thoroughfares:  Lincoln Blvd, Wilshire, Santa Monica Blvd, Olympic, Pico, Centinela, Bundy, San Vicente, Sepulveda, Abbott Kinney, PCH and the rest of Venice Blvd. (Source: recallbonin.com, numerous media interviews with recall leaders)

TRUTH: There are no other road diets planned on any of these streets -- and recall leaders know it.

  • This has become the most frequent, and most dangerous, of the recall leaders' intentionally misleading statements, because they are hoping to scare neighbors in communities not affected by safety projects in Mar Vista or Playa del Rey to supporting the recall.
  • The recall effort has shamelessly cherry-picked information and distorted it, and are making claims that any street that in the next 30 years might get transit, pedestrian safety, or cycling improvements or projects is a secret plan to reduce lanes. 
  • When pressed on this point, recall leaders relent that not all 19 streets are going to receive road diets.
  • The Mobility Plan/Vision 2035 creates a menu of options that empowers communities to choose mobility and safety solutions that work for them - such as crosswalks, bike lanes, etc. There are NO planned reconfigurations.

LIE: Recall leaders claim Mike and LADOT have plans to reduce lanes on Lincoln Boulevard. (Source: recallbonin.com, numerous media interviews with recall leaders.)

TRUTH: Mike and LADOT are planning to ADD lanes on Lincoln.

  • Recall leaders are claiming that city environmental study to improve the Lincoln Bridge over the Ballona Wetlands will lead to reduction in lanes. On the contrary, the project being studied would add a lane of vehicle traffic -- in an addition to pedestrian and cycling access.

LIE: A recall is necessary because “Bonin is termed out.” (Source: recallbonin.com website and emails)

TRUTH: Mike is just beginning his second term as a Councilmember. Councilmembers are allowed to serve up to three terms.

  • Falsely claiming that Mike is termed out is part of how recall leaders are justifying an expensive recall effort that seeks to undermine the will of voters who resoundingly re-elected Mike with 71% of the vote earlier this year.

LIE: “Mike refuses to meet with or engage with people who disagree with him.” (Source: recallbonin.com website)

TRUTH: Mike meets frequently with people who disagree him, and regularly goes to meetings he is requested to attend with people who disagree with him.

  • Below is just a handful of recent examples of when Mike has met with, listened to, and worked with neighbors who disagreed with him:
    • Mike reached out to recall organizer Alexis Edelstein and offered to meet in June. Alexis responded by launching a recall website and going on the John and Ken (alt-right shock jocks) radio show to announce the recall effort.
    • Mike attended the July Mar Vista Community Council meeting, where he listened to 117 supporters and opponents speak on their thoughts about the project during public comment.
    • Mike met and discussed the Great Streets project with recall proponent Demetrios Mavromichalis at the Venice Grind, and with Ken Marek, Richard McMillan, Alix Gucovsky and several others for 30 minutes at the Mar Vista Neighborhood Association Block Party.
    • Mike met and discussed the Great Streets project with dozens of people at the LADOT Open House at Windward School on July 24
    • Last year, Mike convened a Town Hall meeting in Venice last year with hundreds of constituents to discuss his homelessness strategy for Venice.  Mike also attended a special LAPD Town Hall after the death of Brandon Glenn.

LIE: “...earlier this year [Mike] was a no-show at the candidate's debates.”(Source: recallbonin.com)

TRUTH: Mike attended the only candidate debate agreed to by all candidates in the March race (hosted by the Westside Alliance of Neighborhood Councils at the Windward School on February 27). He also participated in candidate forums hosted by the West LA Dem Club.  

  • You can watch the debate below (and you should - Mike did great!)

LIE: “Because of Bonin Venice Blvd is now more dangerous. Injury collisions rate increased 7%.” (Source: recallbonin.com)

TRUTH: Objective data directly refutes this lie. 

  • According to the latest LAPD data, injuries and collisions on Venice Boulevard have DROPPED since the Mar Vista Great Streets implementation in May 2017, compared to the previous twelve months. Collisions dropped 22% and injuries dropped 10%.
  • Reports of increases in collisions by 200% are patently false, comparing different data sets and using manipulated data. Project opponents are comparing CHP data from before the project started to anecdotal evidence presented on social media after the project. It is comparing apples and oranges. Actually, it is more like comparing apples and tire irons.
  • Vision Zero policies save lives. New York City, which launched a Vision Zero campaign in 2014, saw traffic fatalities drop by 23% in the program’s first three years. In contrast, national traffic fatalities rose by 14% during that same timeframe, according to the National Safety Council.

LIE: “He also lies about claiming that street accidents are leading cause of death among kids under 14.”(Source: October 20 Recall Bonin Facebook post.)

TRUTH: Los Angeles has one of the worst traffic fatality and injury problems in the nation.

  • Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 14 in Los Angeles. And the number two cause of death between 15 and 25 years of age. (Data Sources:  Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology. Linked 2012 California DPH Death Statistical Master File for Los Angeles city residents, compiled 7/31/15, L. Lieb)
  • 95 serious collisions per day occur on our streets. That is more than 30,000 per year.
  • More than 950 people sustained serious injuries in 2013.
  • More than 200 people each year from collisions.
  • Nearly half of all fatal collisions involved a person walking or cycling.
  • Older adults are 11% of the City population, and 26% of pedestrian fatalities.
  • Seniors, children, people with disabilities, and people of lower incomes are most likely to die from collisions in Los Angeles.
  • This is an epidemic that touches families of all backgrounds, and reducing the frequency and severity of traffic collisions is in everyone's interest.

LIE: Mike raided Measure M funds for the road improvements in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista.

FACT: This is patently false.

  • No Measure M funds were or even could have been used in either project, as the City had not even received Measure M local return funding when the Playa del Rey and Mar Vista projects were installed.

LIE: Mike “led a vote in the Transportation Committee to reallocate 60% of the funds for Measure M passed last November by the city voters for mass transportation to their Vision Zero plan.” (Source: recallbonin.com)

TRUTH: No Measure M money is being reallocated for purposes other than what voters supported last November.

  • The impartial analysis of Measure M, which appeared on ballots as people were voting, made very clear that a vote for Measure M would provide funding for transportation projects, including improved bike and pedestrian connections.
  • Mike lead the effort on the City Council to allocate the City’s Measure M “local return” funds for both street reconstruction and traffic safety measures, such as traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, street lighting, speed surveys, speed enforcement, public education about street safety, streetscape redesigns, curb extensions and more. All of those items are consistent with the voter-approved Measure M and approved by the full City Council.

LIE: "To make matters worse, Councilman Mike Bonin, led a vote in the Transportation Committee to reallocate 2/3 of the funds for Measure M passed last November by the city voters for mass transportation to their Vision Zero plan." (recallbonin.com)

TRUTH: Less than a fraction of 1% of Measure M funds is being used for Vision Zero, and no Measure M money is being reallocated for purposes other than what voters supported last November (see above).

  • Measure M is expected to raise $120 billion over four decades. The only Measure M money allocated for Vision Zero by the LA City Council is $5,466,473 (that is a mere 0.00004% of Measure M funds), which was approved unanimously by the council in this year’s city budget. Vision Zero funding pays for traffic signals, crosswalks, and other pedestrian safety projects.  

LIE: “Earlier on Mayor Eric Garcetti passed "Vision Zero" as an emergency executive directive without the input of the voters. Vision Zero is the city's plan to eliminate all traffic deaths by extending curbs and cutting down traffic lanes.” (Source: recallbonin.com)

TRUTH: Vision Zero was adopted as a city policy by the entire City Council, and it calls for much more than simply “extending curbs and cutting down traffic lanes.”

  • Vision Zero is a comprehensive program to end traffic fatalities in Los Angeles. This is an international effort that was established in LA by an Executive Directive issued by Mayor Garcetti in 2015 and later unanimously approved by the City Council.
  • Vision Zero is about MORE THAN ROAD DIETS (removing/narrowing traffic lanes). It is focused on "the four E's":
    • Education - teaching drivers, cyclists and pedestrians how to use roads safely
    • Enforcement - much of the money LA sets aside for Vision Zero goes to LAPD speed limit enforcement
    • Engineering - this includes roadway design (such as making curbs extend farther into the street or separating bike lanes from traffic lanes. This also includes new street signals (which is actually the biggest budget item in this year's Vision Zero budget)
    • Equity - the people statistically proven to be protected by Vision Zero programs are: kids, seniors, the disabled and low-income communities. Attacking Vision Zero as a program is tantamount to saying the most vulnerable don't deserve protection.

LIE: Mike has proclaimed himself a king. (Source: September 20 recallbonin.com email - “It's a small price to pay to get this self proclaimed 'king' out of office!”)

TRUTH: Mike has never proclaimed himself a king.

MYTH: Mike acts unilaterally and the community had no opportunity for input on Mar Vista Great Streets improvements and no notice about what improvements would be made.

FACT: Mike’s office, the mayor’s office and LADOT engaged thousands of Mar Vista stakeholders during an extensive outreach process for the project, which began in 2011.

  • The extensive community outreach process prior to the Great Streets project being implemented in Mar Vista included:
    • Surveys were emailed to more than 3,500 Mar Vista residents through the CD11 email list, the Mar Vista Community Council email list, the Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce email list, and lists maintained by local homeowners associations, churches, and schools; and additionally posted to the the Mar Vista NextDoor community of nearly 5,000 residents, and also widely shared on Facebook.
    • Surveys and information were repeadtedly included in Mike’s monthly newsletter.
    • Mike and Mayor Garcetti went door-to-door on Venice Boulevard, talking with businesses and discussing potential Great Streets projects.
    • Interactive surveys and “vision boards” were stationed frequently at the Mar Vista Farmers Market, Grand View Market, the Venice Grind, Vineyard Church, and Venice High School.
      • All potential project components, including reduced traffic lanes to increase safety, were described and pictured on the vision boards.
    • The Great Streets project was featured several times in The Argonaut Newspaper, including in a September 2014 cover story.
    • LADOT did a one-day demonstration project of the lane reduction and protected bike lane on Venice Boulevard in November 2015.
      • The demonstration included separated bike lanes and reduced traffic lanes.
      • Great_Streets_Sample_Day_2.jpg
        • (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
    • Since implementation of the projects, Councilman Bonin’s office has also proactively reached out to more than 9000 households in Mar Vista by text, phone call, or canvass to ask for their thoughts on the street changes on Venice Boulevard, and collected suggestions for improvements to the project.