by Eric Ahlberg
OK so I joined Team Bonin. It was an easy choice for me to make, given that all the wrong people were against him and they were posting slander and lies about him across social media. On his team are some younger Bernistas. My Team Bonin peeps seem like really good progressives. I was happy to join a team that mostly worked in social media. You should too, imagine what you could do.
My goal was to get some help deconstructing the narratives that many locals were promoting on social media. I was quickly rewarded with the exposé that Republican operatives were doing the heavy lifting of financing the signature campaign, and that this was part of Republican efforts to recall, Governor Gavin Newsome (recall failed), Seattle City Council member and Alternative Socialist Party member, Kshama Sawant (recall failed). Now San Francisco Public Defender Chesa Boudin, George Gascon, and Mike Bonin are still being targeted.
The Republicans have been doing this for years because they think lower turnouts for recall elections give them a better chance of unseating Democrats. They seem to have found some allies in Venice, or should we say they found each other. Mark Ryavec tried to unseat Mike Bonin in the last CD11 election and failed. Did he need help from the party that won’t account for their Jan 6 2021 insurrection?
There are few Republicans on the Westside, and running as a Republican is toxic for political campaigns in most of California, and perhaps most so in Venice.
What we do find are Democrats In Name Only, DINOs, who support some liberal talking points, but also pander to fear of crime, and particularly the fear of the encampments of poor people, and they are in opposition to Permanent Supportive Housing being built in Venice.
There was begat the DINO – Republican alliance. Imagine you were a Libertarian Republican, WTF do you do after Trump has drained all the air in the room? Imagine you were a rich Republican Conservative…or actor, how could manifest your destiny?…By beating on popular liberals, the entire Republican Party knows that, and nearly all Republicans love that, and so they begat several recalls, by blaming all the people sleeping under bridges and stealing bicycles on Liberal Democrats. They have a sort of wicked glee about it.
About $170,000 was spent on the Recall Signature campaign. That is more than was spent on the last CD11 election. The campaign was funded by a 501c4 which can hide their donor list. All to hire pro signature gatherers to tell everyone to save the homeless by signing this petition.
The disposition of the Recall is up to the City Clerk to verify the signatures and report by January 18, 2022. They must schedule the recall election. Mark Ryavec suggested that they might just merge it with the June Primary, which wouldn’t be good for the recallers. A separately scheduled recall election would cost about $1,000,000.
This campaign is interesting in that there is money and political consultancy in the play. Who is running? This is still up in the air, as the shape of the election and the recall forms, but both Traci Park, and Jim Murez have declared candidacy for the CD11 seat.
Traci Park has a video interview Rise Together, an organization which shares the downtown office suite address of Reed and Davidson, a full service Political Consultancy. They are for hire and appear non-partisan, the better to work for both parties.Her video is not impressive. Did she hire them or were they vetting her? But the consultancy’s job is to sell the candidate, for a substantial fee. This would include whatever the candidate can afford, mailers, social media managers, interview bookings, coaching.
Here is a quote from her website (tracipark.com): “Traci is running for City Council because our City needs new leadership and the time for change is NOW! Broken promises and failed ideas on bedrock issues have shattered the relationship between the City and its residents – and our problems have spiraled out of control. For too long, current leadership has ignored the voices of the families and businesses that make up our district. It’s time for that to change.” This is rhetorical boilerplate for any challenger, coming on with a negative campaign.
Who’s gonna buy Jim Murez a political campaign? He has similar rhetoric about the failures of the City. If they both run they would split the opposition vote, good for Bonin.
Both will need to crank up the rhetoric to get media attention.
The challengers and the recallers both try to leverage crime to blame the incumbent, another rhetorical trope for the ages. There was the alleged attack on Buscaino, at his press conference on Venice Beach, and blamed on Angel, a young woman who was camping nearby, and who only dropped her knife. Ryavec was present at this. The police reacted when she picked up the knife and forcibly wrested it out of her hands. She was not threatening anybody and nowhere near near Buscaino. His campaign manager saw the opportunity to make the boring press conference, which was denouncing the beach encampments, into a viral story, where Buscaino was attacked. Fake news 102, improvisation? There was the dog that was burned, an act that was attributed to poor campers down the street, without evidence or police confirmation.
Every crime in Venice is blamed on the city not doing it’s job keeping the streets safe. Skyrocketing crime is blamed on houseless campers.
It’s easy to repeat over and over until many believe it. Reliable crime statistics are hard to find, LAPD only lists calls and arrests, so it is hard to construct trend data to support the “skyrocketing crime” meme. The LAPD is very political in their public information, telling some stories that they are suceeding at fighting crime, but they will use inflated statistics to scare the audience, to ask for support to do more, to lobby to protect their funding.
Sure, people are frustrated that poor indigent people are living in tents in our neighborhoods. They are as criminal and crazy as the people in houses. If anybody camping on the street is held illegal, then all poor campers are criminals. This is the crime that the recallers seem most agitated about, it’s their strongest and most passionate issue. Bonin’s been too lenient. We need the sheriff to run those varmits out of town. Children are also props in this rhetorical exercise, for they must always be protected from witnessing poor people and their desperate acts. Therefore no supportive housing can be built close to children. Appealing to parental protection, with anedotal stories of past and future tradgedies, it is well worn rhetorical scheme. Be afraid. The core brand of Fascism.
In National and State Democratic platforms it is called for housing to be built for the poor in every district. Yet Democratic constituents can be Ken and Karen obstructionists on this issue.