Bonin Reflects on First Year in Office (Part 2)

(Left to right): Palisades-Will Rogers 5/10K organizer Brian Shea, Honorary Mayor Jake Steinfeld and Councilmember Mike Bonin celebrate the Fourth of July in Pacific Palisades. Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer
(Left to right): Palisades-Will Rogers 5/10K organizer Brian Shea, Honorary Mayor Jake Steinfeld and Councilmember Mike Bonin celebrate the Fourth of July in Pacific Palisades.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Sanderson: What are some challenges of the job?

I think there are two big ones. One is on the personal level it’s time management. It’s finding a balance between doing the legislative work and doing the work in the neighborhoods. They feed into one another. It’s a very big district of 270,000 people. It has more voters than any other district in the city and it’s the most engaged. The other one is trying to get the city to do more with less money to do everything. In this year’s budget, we managed to increase the amount of money for street resurfacing and tree trimming. We spared youth and senior programs and invested in some of our basic transportation needs. None of those were huge leaps in expenditures, but we still have big needs to do stuff. We have to leverage public-private partnerships and use technology to make the city more efficient. Another thing that’s been a challenge has been trying to marry the smarts and the talent of my constituents with the city agencies. There are literally folks in the Palisades and other parts of the district who are experts on things, and being able to convince city agencies that these are our resources and partners is important.

Sanderson What are your top priorities for your second year?

My priorities are the same as the first year, delivering city services. That’s the heart of this job. My overall legislative portfolio is going to be focused on transportation, environment and technology. I’m going to continue focusing on improving L.A.’s fiscal condition so we can do more in delivering basic services. I’m going to deliver them directly – fixing potholes, stop sign installation and painting new crosswalks. An issue to focus on more would be homelessness. We’re seeing signs of homeless growing throughout the district. Also, while the bulk of what needs to be addressed, the resources aren’t in the toolbox. They’re at the county, state or federal level and I want to build partners. I’ve also hired a small business development concierge on my staff. He works half time at my office. He meets one on one with new, growing small and medium-sized businesses in the district and will help them form a business plan to a marketing strategy and potential access to capital. And then he’ll also help with all the nonsense government red tape and figure tax incentives. I think I’m the first councilmember who’s done something like this. This is where most jobs in L.A. come from. I want to make sure we’re bending over backwards to help small businesses.