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Cheat sheet for the 2022 Westside L.A. City Council District 11 primary race

A man tries to maintain his balance on the slack line in Venice Beach as the sun sets.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )
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The District 11 Los Angeles City Council race has been called both the most competitive of the cycle and a battle for the soul of the Westside.

The field in the district includes as many as half a dozen candidates thought to have a decent chance of finishing in the top two, thereby earning a spot in a November runoff.

The district

Covering some of the most affluent areas in L.A., the district stretches from Pacific Palisades to Los Angeles International Airport and inland to Mar Vista, Brentwood and West L.A. But one key battleground is Venice, where debates over the homeless crisis have divided residents and sparked a failed recall effort against current Councilman Mike Bonin. Beside homelessness, inequity and housing, crime and development have been big issues.

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Background

Bonin, one of L.A.’s most liberal council members, became a lightning rod as homeless camps multiplied in parts of the district, especially the famed oceanside boardwalk in Venice. Bonin has been praised by some advocates for his empathic view of the unhoused. Critics depict him as out of touch and more sympathetic to the unhoused than he is to encampment neighbors.

California’s 2022 primary election ballot includes races for governor, attorney general, the Legislature and Congress, as well as local contests.

June 7, 2022

Whoever wins the election faces a vexing challenge.

As Times columnist Steve Lopez observed: “Whoever succeeds Bonin is going to find that the fractured, multi-agency homeless services bureaucracy is an incorrigible beast. Then there’s the housing crisis, abject poverty, mental health service failures and other forces beyond direct control of a council member. In many instances, helping someone can be complicated.”

The candidates

  • Erin Darling, civil rights lawyer
  • Greg Good, a former member of the city’s Board of Public Works
  • Allison Holdorff Polhill, a former aide to school board member Nick Melvoin
  • Midsanon “Soni” Lloyd, school teacher
  • Jim Murez, president of the Venice Neighborhood Council
  • Mike Newhouse, real estate attorney
  • Traci Park, an attorney who specializes in municipal law
  • Mat Smith, a medical delivery driver.

Fundraising

Here are the latest totals compiled by the L.A. Ethics Commission | Candidate statements of economic interest

Reading list

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Readings from other publications

Candidates united in anger of state of the Westside
(Santa Monica Daily Press)

A look at the District 11 race
(LAist)

Big money in a council race
(LA Magazine)

Venice and the war over homelessness
(N.Y. Times)

Policing and Venice
(The Atlantic)

NIMBYs. a homeless crisis and a iconic L.A. landmark
(Curbed)

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