Homelessness Front and Center in LA Council District 11 Race

LOS ANGELES—Sprawling homelessness is the primary issue for residents in Los Angeles’s Council District 11, which encompasses neighborhoods in Venice, Playa del Rey, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Westchester, Ladera, and Sawtelle.

Eight candidates are vying to replace Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who announced in January he would not seek re-election, citing mental health issues.

Bonin came under fire from some constituents for his handling of homelessness issues in his district, including that he is one of two councilors who have voted against a new citywide anti-camping ordinance and for embracing what is known as a “Housing First” model, which means providing a homeless person with housing as quickly as possible to help stabilize them before addressing other issues such as drug or alcohol addiction or mental illness.

Recall Mike Bonin art is panted along shops along Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Traci Park

Currently leading the pack is Traci Park, who has raised just over $350,000 in campaign donations through April 23.

Park, who has been a Venice resident since 2015, is a registered Democrat. She’s running on ending encampments and restoring public safety.

According to her campaign website, if elected, Park plans to increase mental health and substance abuse services to Angelenos suffering from addiction on the streets, and “adopt a policy of compassionate enforcement.”

Epoch Times Photo
Members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) and the Los Angeles Services Authority offer homeless residents food, water, and transportation and housing options in Malibu, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Park also says she plans to increase the budget of what she calls “safety partners,” meaning private security teams, across the district.

Keeping track of the homeless, Park said, is critical to making progress on the district’s homelessness crisis, especially with what’s known as “by-name” data, which allows providers to track the homeless based on their personal profiles.

“Like all of us, unhoused people have very different needs. [Such] data lets us know exactly who needs what help, which allows for better planning and realignment of resources to address unmet or underserved needs,” her website reads.

Allison Holdorff Polhill

Candidate Allison Holdorff Polhill’s top issues are also addressing homelessness and restoring public safety.

She said if elected, like the other candidates she would prioritize enforcing local anti-camping ordinances to ensure the safety of residents, while supporting community programs in each neighborhood that will address specific needs for the homeless.

“We need to prevent homelessness by allocating resources and providing opportunities to learn employable skills. We have resources from the federal and state government to address our housing shortage,” Polhill said on her website.

Epoch Times Photo
A tiny home village in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2021. (Jamie Joseph/The Epoch Times)

Polhill, who has raised about $275,000 in the race, added that since voters in 2016 passed Measure HHH—a $1.2 billion bond to create 10,000 permanent supportive housing units in Los Angeles—“the city generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build housing, but too many projects are stuck in City Hall’s bureaucratic approvals process.”

Cutting regulations and municipal red tape that delay the construction of permanent supportive housing units, according to Polhill, will incentivize developers to build faster interim units.

To improve public safety, Polhill said she would increase Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) patrol units by “civilianiz[ing] office jobs [putting] hundreds of officers on the street.”

Polhill, who recently served as chief advisor and district director to the vice president of the Los Angeles Unified School District, is endorsed by more than a dozen elementary school teachers from Walgrove Elementary School, Topanga Canyon Elementary School, and Playa del Rey Elementary School.

Park is endorsed by several law enforcement unions including the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, and the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs.

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Los Angeles Police Department officers respond to unlawful assemby in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 3, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Greg Good

Attorney Greg Good, who is also president of the city’s Board of Public Works, is prioritizing housing, public safety, and mental health.

Good, a Democrat, plans to hire a “Chief of Homelessness” for the district who would conduct quarterly homeless counts.

He also supports enforcing anti-camping ordinances around schools, parks, and the Ballona Wetlands.

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A homeless encampment of vehicles lines Jefferson along Ballona Creek in Playa Del Rey, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

To streamline mental health services, Good said, if elected, he will ensure that the city and the county—which oversees the city’s mental health services—are working together so the city can receive more addiction services.

He additionally proposes paying the LAPD overtime for responding to drug dealing and trafficking calls.

In the Venice area, he said he would “advocate equally strongly for six to eight additional Park Rangers to be hired and assigned to Venice Oceanfront Walk and surrounding CD11 park communities.”

He has raised about $215,000 in donations, according to recent campaign filings.

Mike Newhouse

Business owner, attorney, and 26-year Venice resident Mike Newhouse runs his own law firm representing small businesses in the area. His top issues in the race include homelessness and transportation.

“On Day 1 of taking office, January 9, 2023, we will issue 30-Day notices to clear ALL encampments in the entire District,” his website reads. “During the month-long period of intensive and constant outreach to move people off the streets and into shelter, interim or permanent housing we will clearly communicate that all no-camping ordinances will be enforced at the end of that time.”

According to Newhouse, he’ll work to improve road congestion and said “excessive use of personal vehicles” causes hours of traffic and he would invest in more options for public transportation, such as protected bike lanes, trains, buses, or trams.

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Cars and pedestrians travel in western Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

He has raised just over $180,000, according to the most recent campaign filings.

Newhouse is supported by Sgt. Gerardo Leyva Chairman of the Santa Monica Police Officers Association, Susan Trigueros of the Los Angeles County Business Federation Political Action Committee, and California Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica).

Jim Murez

Venice Neighborhood Council President Jim Murez, who has raised a little bit more than $100,000, according to the most recent data available, is also running on homelessness and public safety.

Murez believes “Housing First” policies “have shown time and time again to not prevent people from occupying our public spaces.”

“This has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and we see the results today, that our city is in shambles,” his website says.

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A homeless encampment in Venice Beach, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

As an alternative, Murez says he plans to enforce anti-camping laws and create what are known as Transitional Service Centers, which he defines as locations where homeless people can camp legally, away from residential neighborhoods and retail commercial corridors.

To improve public safety, Murez said the staffing for the LAPD must be increased “until we can meet or exceed the response to all emergency calls within 7 minutes.”

Erin Darling

Civil rights attorney and Venice resident Erin Darling is running on a progressive platform to expand affordable housing and opposes anti-camping ordinances.

He has received just over $55,000 in donations, according to campaign filings.

Darling supports the “Housing First” model to address homelessness in the district by increasing renter protections and speeding up the development of permanent supportive housing units.

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A homeless encampment in Venice Beach, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Like Newhouse, Darling is also an advocate for creating alternative transportation options to reduce personal vehicle usage across the district.

“If we don’t reduce the number of ‘super commuters’ – those forced to travel an hour or more each way to work – then the Westside will have even more traffic and won’t be able to reduce carbon emissions,” according to his website.

Mat Smith

Mat Smith, a Westchester native and army veteran, is the only conservative on the ballot running on returning “conservative values to CD 11.”

Smith is running on expanding homeless shelters and providing housing to those who “earn it.”

“We’ll … start the process of building low cost, transitional shelters to be located away from residential neighborhoods and near industrial and appropriate commercial zones,” his website says.

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A man is arrested by a Los Angeles police officer in Venice Beach, Calif.,on June 2, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Regarding public safety, Smith says he seeks to “refund” LAPD officers and expand patrolling units across the district.

Smith has raised about $10,000, according to the most recent campaign donations filings.

Midsanon “Soni” Lloyd

Midsanon “Soni” Lloyd, a teacher for nearly two decades, refers to himself as an “anti-imperialist activist.”

His website touts “tax the billionaires” and “invest in the people.” He supports the expansion of permanent supportive housing, “economic justice,” and “reparations for communities targeted by racist governance.”

He has no campaign filings listed as of May 16.

Epoch Times Photo
A homeless encampment sits in front of the Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library in Venice, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The primary election is on June 7. A candidate that receives more than 50 percent of the vote will automatically win the seat. Otherwise, the two top vote getters will advance to the November general election.

Jamie Joseph


Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.

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