Democratic Club Gathers for Annual Meeting

Bonin addresses the crowd.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

The Pacific Palisades Democratic Club held its annual meeting Sunday, January 26, at the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, addressing homelessness across California, affordable housing and fire safety.

PPDC President Erika Feresten asked attendees to hold a moment of silence ahead of the event in honor of NBA great Kobe Bryant who, just hours before the event, was in a tragic helicopter accident that took his life, the life of his 13-year-old daughter and seven other passengers.

The event then went on to feature addresses by State Senator Ben Allen, Assemblymember Richard Bloom and Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Allen made mention of the fact that California Governor Gavin Newsom just as recently as January 15 announced his budgetary proposal, including millions in emergency funding to address homelessness.

He shared that the challenge is finding a way to work collaboratively with local partners to ensure the issue is being dealt with, the money is being well spent and going to its intended cause.

Bloom carried on the conversation of the homeless crisis by acknowledging its precursor and the “simple, most significant reason that we have more homelessness this year than we did last year”—the lack of affordable housing.

“The leading cause of this crisis is … any one of the myriad of reasons that one might not be able to make that last rent payment and you end up in a car on the streets,” Bloom said.

Bloom added that 133 individuals in Los Angeles County are being placed into some form of housing daily, but at the same time, 150 individuals fall into homelessness every day.

He shared that there are a number of efforts on this front, including his co-author of David Chui’s AB 1482, a California rent control bill designed to prevent “rent gouging.”

Bonin then took to the stage and started his oration with the news of Potrero Canyon Park opening within the next year-and-a-half and a plausible dog park, drawing excitement from the crowd.

He followed up by providing a multitude of updates.

Bonin stated that fire safety is one of his top priorities, both legislatively and budgetarily, and is continuing to restore services and expand LAFD.

“I have made a commitment to our fire chief that no matter what happens with revenues, I am going to be fighting in this year’s budget cycle to continue fighting for resources for LAFD,” Bonin said. “It is the most significant investment that we need to be making in agencies in the city of Los Angeles.”

Bonin added that LAPD has been expanding on its own services by placing more officers in the patrol pool since an effort he launched back in 2016.

“There is not a neighborhood in Los Angeles that feels safe enough, even though, generally speaking, Los Angeles is safer than it ever has been,” Bonin said.

On the topic of homelessness, a 100-bed shelter for homeless veterans will open at the VA, and three different buildings are in the process of being rehabilitated at the VA for long-term permanent housing for homeless individuals—neither of which are funded by the federal government, Bonin said.

“We’re not waiting, the people of Los Angeles are going to do what they can.”