At last Thursday’s Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, Councilman Mike Bonin spoke to residents about noisy motorcycles, street repair and his stance on the proposed L.A. Department of Water and Power substation in the Marquez area.
Council President Barbara Kohn handed Bonin a list of questions that were submitted to the PPCC by the public beforehand. This format was agreed upon by Bonin’s office and the PPCC prior to his visit.
The first question Bonin addressed in front of an audience of about 30 people was how the City would address the issue of “loud motorcycle noise on Sunset,” especially on Wednesday nights. He said, “We have already approached the LAPD’s West Traffic Division and are working toward a plan.”
Bonin did not elaborate on details, citing concerns over the need to keep LAPD’s strategies out of the public eye, but emphasized that the problem caused by bands of noisy motorcycles was being tackled.
On the issue of curb gutters and street repair, Bonin said that this is probably one of the most “annoying problems in the City and there is not an easy and quick fix to it. The backlog of sidewalk repair goes into the billions of dollars. There have been proposals over the past few years to make property owners pay for it. I don’t know if that’s the smartest and fairest way to go about it. ”
He added, “At the moment there has not been funding for this.”
Meanwhile, regarding street repairs, Bonin said the City’s approach has been to leave overly damaged streets alone “because it would cost so much money to fix them that they wouldn’t be able to do the ones in B or C grade.”
“There is a proposal being floated by two of my colleagues [Councilmembers Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino] that would put a street fund measure on the ballot for 2014. This would address an enormous part of the City’s backlog,” Bonin said. “They are trying to do it while interest rates are low so you can get more bang for your buck.”
The proposed L.A. Emergency Local Street Safety and Traffic Improvement Measure would be paid through a six-percent increase in property taxes to pay for the repair of streets deemed too broken to fix (Does Not Function) by the City.
Bonin said he would keep the Community Council abreast about upcoming committee meetings on this issue and circulate reports drafted on the street-repair measure. He added that the current proposal includes recommendations to have it apply to streets that have an average grade too.
“If you’re going to do it, why not do all the streets, not just the tough streets?” Bonin said.
The most controversial question of the night was whether Bonin’s opposition to the initial proposal by DWP to build a distribution station on an empty lot next to Marquez Charter Elementary School was in any way related to campaign donations he received from constituents in the Marquez area.
“I actually don’t know what the addresses are of my campaign donors,” Bonin said. “What I can tell you is that I took a position on the Marquez substation before I even became a candidate. Bill Rosendahl came out opposed to siting it there and I was his chief of staff, and I agreed with him.”
Citing the recent geological issues at Marquez Elementary (which has caused the closure of three classrooms), Bonin said he has not met with the head of DWP “about where this is going, but we are meeting in a week or two.”
On the issue of commercial development in the Palisades, Bonin said that this is one of the hottest topics in the City and that’s why “I have hired what I think is the planning A-team.”
The team includes his District Director Debbie Dyner Harris, Planning Director Tricia Keane and Senior Planner Noel Hyun Fleming, who used to work for Mayor Eric Garcetti. Citing their career milestones, Bonin spoke highly of all three.
In terms of a specific approach to developments or a planning issue, Bonin said: “I am not taking a position on any planning issue until my planning team has sat down with the community and with both sides, and understands exactly what the facts are, what the law is and what the record holds.”
Bonin wrapped up the Q-and-A session after about 15 minutes without taking any direct questions from the audience, but said he would return in early September for a longer visit.
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