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Opponents Of Controversial 'Road Diets' Start Campaign To Recall Councilman Mike Bonin

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Mike Bonin (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
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Critics of Councilman Mike Bonin's "road diets" (removing traffic lanes in an effort to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities) have officially launched a campaign to remove Bonin from office. These infrastructure changes stem from Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035, two city plans meant to eliminate traffic deaths.

Bonin implemented the plans in his district by removing traffic lanes, adding a buffer between the sidewalk and street, and moving parking to the beach side of the street so pedestrians don't have to walk across traffic. The "road diet" has affected Vista del Mar, Pershing Drive, and Culver, Jefferson, and Venice boulevards. The Vista del Mar project in particular has prompted intense public outcry because the beach-adjacent road is a popular north-south thoroughfare connecting the Beach Cities to the West Side. Slimming the road led to an increase in traffic times and subsequent usage of residential side streets. As a result, two separate groups filed lawsuits and Bonin eventually decided to reverse the Vista del Mar diet.

The L.A. Times points out recall efforts cannot begin within the first three months of a councilman's term, so Bonin's critics have held off on formally campaigning for a recall. They must wait until October to submit the official paperwork, according to the Daily Breeze.

The critics announced their recall efforts in a press conference outside Venice Grind Coffee Co. in Mar Vista. Sporting "Got Traffic?" t-shirts, the organizers criticized Bonin's plans and described him as a hypocrite, saying "Mike Bonin would like to make you think this is actually about safety." Demetrios Mavromichalis, the owner of Venice Grind and a former Bonin supporter, said "You betrayed me, you betrayed your whole community, you betrayed everybody that voted for you," according to the Breeze.

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In response to the recall efforts, Councilman Bonin said in a statement how, a few months ago, he "won re-election with 71 percent of the vote, earning more votes than any council candidate in Los Angeles." He feels "confident the vast majority of my constituents approve of what we have done together to move Los Angeles forward."

To formally recall the councilman, critics must collect more than 26,000 signatures. The group plans to distribute a petition in November.