Mike Bonin represents Westside neighborhoods on the Los Angeles City Council, taking office in 2013 after a landslide victory in which he won every precinct in the sprawling 11th District.
As Councilmember, Mike has been a champion of neighborhoods, a force for smart, responsive government, and a progressive voice for social justice. His work has focused on reducing traffic and building mass transit, ending homelessness, protecting the environment, strengthening public safety, and fixing the city’s broken development process to better serve residents and put neighborhoods first.
Mike has proven himself an effective legislator and voice for his community, and his first term has been remarkably productive. He brokered a landmark agreement with Westchester and Playa del Rey residents that allows Los Angeles International Airport to modernize without expanding and negatively impacting surrounding neighborhoods. He expanded Los Angeles Fire Department resources in his district, including restoring a critical Fire Engine company in Pacific Palisades, and he negotiated a record amount of affordable housing in a transit-friendly project next to the Metro Expo Line
Mike co-authored and won passage for the nation’s first citywide $15 minimum wage, co-wrote groundbreaking policy committing the city to 100% renewable energy, and secured council approval of a ban on fracking. He was a key player in developing a comprehensive City-County strategy on homelessness, and in securing more than $130 million for homelessness programs. He won approval of a long-sought rail connection to the airport, now under construction, and successfully fought to allow travelers to use Lyft and Uber at LAX. Mike was a key player in shaping and securing voter approval of two landmark initiatives: Measure M, which provides tens of billions to build a mass transit network in Los Angeles County; and Proposition HHH, authorizing the City to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to build housing for people who are homeless.
In the neighborhoods he represents, Mike is known for his hands-on approach and his insistence on better, faster city services. He can be seen frequently filling potholes, picking up trash, or trimming trees with city workers, or patrolling the streets with police officers or firefighters. As part of his ambitious “Access 11” plan to bring City Hall closer to our neighborhoods, Mike holds open community office hours in the evenings and on weekends at local farmers markets, coffee shops, and senior centers to provide working families access to their council representative when it is more convenient for them. Mike and his staff regularly go door-to-door, seeking ideas to improve city services, and coordinate service projects to improve our neighborhoods. He sponsors outdoor movie nights and leads “Hike with Mike” nature walks in some of the Westside’s wonderful outdoor spaces to help create opportunities to build and celebrate community.
A frequent user of mass transit who commutes to work by bus or train at least once a week, Mike is a key player in regional transportation matters. He is chair of the council’s Transportation Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and former chair of the Metro Expo Line Construction Authority. Mike is a strong advocate for increasing our transportation choices, and believes we can relieve traffic and create livable streets and neighborhoods through greater use of rail, bus, bikes and walking. He marshaled council support for Mobility 2035 and Vision Zero, forward-thinking policies to increase mobility and increase pedestrian safety. He has also successfully pushed for the expansion of bike share programs to the Westside.
In addition to his transportation portfolio, Mike is also vice-chair of the council committee that oversees LAX International Airport. He also serves on the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, the Public Safety Committee, and the Budget & Finance Committee. As a member of the budget panel, he has successfully fought for: senior nutrition and health programs; additional firefighters and police patrols; more traffic signals, tree trimming, street resurfacing, and sidewalk repair; and additional crossing guards and traffic control officers.
Mike has also pushed aggressively for development reform, calling for an update of local community plans, fighting abuses of so-called “density bonuses” for developers, and proposing additional protections of and requirements for affordable housing. Mike has been a passionate advocate for Westside neighborhoods in the development process, downsizing out-of-scale projects, opposing overdevelopment, and forcing developers to provide affordable housing, open space, traffic relief, and neighborhood benefits.
Mike won election to the City Council in the March 2013 municipal primary. He garnered 62 percent of the vote in a four-person race, winning more votes than any other candidate for City Council on that ballot, and the highest proportion of the vote that any first-time candidate has obtained in a council primary in ten years. He quickly made a mark on the City Council – immediately winning approval for the repeal of an unpopular policy that ticketed motorists for parking at broken meters; and earning praise for his proposal to equip firefighters with modern technology, such as iPads or tablets.
Mike’s work on behalf of neighborhoods has won recognition, and he has been voted “Best Local Elected Official” by the readers of The Argonaut Newspaper in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – every year he has been eligible for the award. He was also the first ever recipient of the “Community Champion” award from the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organization. In 2013, he received the “Founders Award for Community Service”, from the St. Joseph Center.
Mike has worked on behalf of Westside neighborhoods since 1996, working in senior positions for Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, Congresswoman Jane Harman, and Councilwoman Ruth Galanter. Mike also served as a regional field organizer in California for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and was the co-founder and program director of Camp Courage, an acclaimed training program for community organizers fighting for the freedom to marry for the LGBT community.
Mike, who has a habit of wearing one of his seemingly endless supply of blue shirts for nearly every occasion, often balks at the typical conventions of politics. He loathes wearing a necktie, shows up for many neighborhood functions in shorts, and gives postcards of Ganesha, the Hindu deity known as the “Remover of Obstacles,” to city bureaucrats. Mike also occasionally gives lucky constituents one of the homemade “raw organic apple pies” he makes (and brags about incessantly).
Mike and his husband, Sean Arian, live in Mar Vista with their young son. Mike is a member of St. Monica’s Church in Santa Monica. A Massachusetts native and former newspaper reporter, Mike graduated from Harvard University in 1989 with a B.A. in United States History.