Alexis Edelstein Launches Congressional Campaign on the Back of Recall

Bernie Sanders during presidential election.

August 31 2017, 11:45PM

The Los Angeles City Council District 11 (CD11) elections were held on March 7th, 2017. There were three candidates vying for the opportunity to represent the good people of CD 11. The election results poured in and the winning candidate won the election with 31,865 votes (71% of the vote), that candidate was Mike Bonin. Despite the overwhelming victory and clear support from voters in Los Angeles (more people voted in Council District 11 than in any other district in LA, just five months after the election took place we find ourselves faced with a recall effort that is underway to recall Mike Bonin.

Even more strange than a recall effort being launched against someone who was re-elected by such a huge majority is the people behind it. As I found after doing a little research, the recall effort is being led by Alexis Edelstein, a self-proclaimed “Berniecrat”, and supported by the racist alt-right radio hosts (Jon & Ken). I can understand why racists and super-conservatives would want to take out a Councilmember who has consistently been a progressive champion on a progressive City Council, but why would a Berniecrat be working with them? It just doesn’t make any sense!

Mike Bonin is one of the most progressive members of the council, and he has a track record of leading on the issues that matter most to the progressive movement. Bonin is the author of the $15 minimum wage, author of the most comprehensive clean money campaign-finance reform in the recent history of Los Angeles, author of the fracking moratorium and the effort to reach 100% clean energy and I am writing this to call out Alexis’ effort as nothing more than a NIMBY assault on a true progressive. Alexis, like most Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) activists got activated when something happened in his backyard — in this case a street safety measure (reduced lanes/added bike lanes) that the department of transportation installed with Bonin’s support and approval, which caused some additional traffic. Trying to make your community a safer place for pedestrians has never been more vilified than in this situation. Is this really grounds for a recall? Absolutely not!

As progressives, we cannot allow for this recall to succeed. I have not had the honor of meeting Mike Bonin personally, but his political track record should be the clear sign of his competence as a leader. This single-issue recall campaign is absolutely ridiculous. To be clear for those who don’t know him. Mike is a gay progressive champion who supported Bernie Sanders in the last election. That’s right! He supported Bernie. This isn’t some fake progressive establishment do nothing — this is a Courage Campaign leader, a LGBT activist, an effective legislator who played a key role in making $15 minimum wage happen. But that’s enough about Councilman Bonin, long story short he is one of the good guys.

So why did Arturo take the time to write this?

Good question! My greatest motivation is to protect the integrity of the progressive movement and its allies.

As he has sought to raise money for the recall effort, Alexis has started tapping into networks and groups that were established to continue moving forward the progressive agenda that was deeply ingrained within us during the presidential primary, the good ole’ days. I do not appreciate my movement being hijacked by someone who is so angry about an effort to save people from speeding cars in his neighborhood that he would call for a recall of a progressive Councilmember. Alexis’ actions distract elected officials and community activist from important matters that need to be address within the district. Alexis’ underhanded and misleading tactics need to be called out.

For example; one of his Facebook post dated (Aug 26 at 6:22pm) stated,

“Another day another accident On Culver past Jefferson. Go to…we need to stop this madness and replace Bonin. Donations go to signature gathering.”

Sound familiar? It’s very reminiscent of the time were President Obama was held responsible for all the woes in the country. Maybe we can start #thanksalotbonin campaign.

My point is that these tactics are damaging the entire revolution — right now Edelstein is misusing the “Berniecrats of California” Twitter feed and social media accounts to make it look like the organization is supporting the recall. By selfishly trying to promote his misguided pet project, Alexis is jeopardizing Berniecrats of California’s ability to credibly spread(Real) information about what is up in the revolution and which elected officials truly need to be recalled.

What’s in it for Alexis?

The entire recall effort has reeked of self-promotion. Could this all be happening because Alexis has been trying unsuccessfully to start his own political career? He has previously said that he is running for Congress against Ted Lieu, but Alexis’ campaign for Congress had only raised three dollars before he took down the fundraising page. I believe that the real reason why Alexis has launched this recall effort is simple and shameful self-promotion. If this recall proves successful Alexis’ recall will be the headline in all of L.A county. The recall has already allowed Alexis to frequent alt-right radio programs to promote and solicit funds for the recall, and every time he has gone on these shows to cozy up to racist shock jocks, he has made sure to use the social media accounts he set up for the recall to share his media appearances and promote himself. The voters of CD 11 made their voices heard loud and clear during March’s Election, but Alexis is behaving like a scheming opportunist who is blatantly rallying against Bonin because he thinks it will get him some press and boost his fledgling political career.

What happened to transparency!? More than half of the donations Alexis has solicited have been pledged anonymously, which is odd considering that Alexis claims to support Bernie Sanders, who has made improving transparency in campaigns a major part of his agenda. Is the oil and gas industry donating to Alexis’ dark money committee to try and get rid of one of the most consistently pro-environment councilmembers? Is it the developers Mike has stood up to and fought for more affordable housing or open space in our neighborhoods? Is it Mike’s recent election opponents, who were calling for a recall before polls even closed on election night? (Hint: it is absolutely, at least in part, this last one.)

I do not write this lightly. There was a time in my life that I truly admired Alexis and the passion for the progressive movement he used to demonstrate. His online political activism is what prompted me to run as a delegate for Bernie Sanders, I even convinced a few other friends to join the movement. But as my involvement increased, other Bernie supporters confided in me about the extensive trolling that they faced at the hands of Alexis whenever they challenged or disagreed with him. Alexis reported Bernie delegates as Hillary plants and would embark on extensive character assassination campaigns against anyone who he viewed as a threat in his pursuit of a leadership position. He is a well-known cyber bully, and I have seen this first hand on social media (and I am sure that will be his immediate reaction to this post). This effort to recall Mike Bonin crosses the line! I am compelled to ask true Berniecrats to join me in denouncing Alexis’ actions and to preserve the integrity of the progressive identity in California.

It is time to drop it, Alexis. You call yourself a progressive. Act like it! We should be building coalitions to address the issues that impact CD11 residents and not embarking on self- adulation campaigns.