Santa Monica is surround by three sides by the City of Los Angeles. With the nation’s second largest municipality enveloping the City by the Sea, both Santa Monica and Los Angeles are bound to share some common ground on key issues, such as jobs, transportation, and the Santa Monica Airport (SMO).
Los Angeles councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Santa Monica’s neighbors such as Brentwood, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Palms, and Venice, paid a visit to the City by the Sea, speaking Jan. 22 to the Santa Monica Democratic Club at the Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Ocean Park.
The 45-minute forum featured Bonin spending a few minutes discussing his work at Los Angeles City Hall and fielding a variety of questions from an audience of about 30 people.
In light of the recent legal motions filed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the City of Santa Monica about the future of SMO, Bonin said he was sympathetic to the Airport2Park.com movement.
Bonin’s predecessor, Bill Rosendahl, was a staunch advocate of having SMO shut down.
“I’m not a big fan of the FAA,” Bonin said. “There are legitimate health issues. There are legitimate noise issues over Venice. Here in Santa Monica, where I feel there is a legitimate safety issue, the FAA said, no, there is no safety issue.”
“An enormous portion of my time and energy is dedicated to dealing with transportation issues,” Bonin, whose fifth council district include some of the most congested areas in Southern California, told the Santa Monica Democratic Club audience. “I think we are on the verge of creating a new transit system in the City of Los Angeles.”
Bonin pointed to the recent groundbreaking of the planned Crenshaw Line and the ridership of the Expo Line between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City is already exceeding expectations.
The Los Angeles Council member added thanks to Santa Monica’s leadership, the nation’s second largest city is working on establishing a bike share program. In time, the program could be integrated into Santa Monica’s bike share program, meaning a bicycler in Santa Monica could continue riding north or south of the City and into areas such as Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, or Venice.
Another initiative Bonin hopes comes to life as it has in Santa Monica is the complete street movement.
“Streets are not just about vehicles,” Bonin said. “They are about neighborhoods.”
With his colleague LA councilman Paul Koretz, Bonin said he introduced a motion to put a moratorium on fracking. Though introduced as a motion in front of the Los Angeles City Council, Bonin said fracking is one of those issues that impact more than just his municipality but surrounding communities as well.
Bonin added he is also working on a motion to establish a living wage for certain classes of workers within Los Angeles.
“Personally, I’d like to go for the whole enchilada and a City-wide minimum wage (increase),” Bonin said. “Frankly, it would be more sensible to have a County-wide minimum wage.”
Other issues Bonin touched upon included adding more bus lines to and from future Expo Line (and other rail) stations to compensate for potential parking deficiencies, congestion on Lincoln Boulevard, rubber sidewalks, and production companies leaving Hollywood and the Westside to shoot films in other states.