Mike Bonin is the council member for Los Angeles’s 11th district, which covers the city’s Westside. Before he participated in a panel discussion about city transportation’s effects on housing costs, he talked in the Zócalo green room about missing New England’s autumn foliage, reporting for newspapers before email existed, and swearing like a sailor.
Where’s the best place for a person to take his or her parents in your district?
I’d say the Getty is a great place to take someone from out of town, not just for the art, but also the spectacular view. I’m also pretty partial to the Venice pier.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Clinton, Massachusetts, where you grew up?
My favorite thing to do used to be to drink, but I’ve been sober for about 20 years. Besides visiting family, it’s visiting St. John’s church, a church I used to go to growing up. There are statues and stained glass.
What do you miss most about your days on the East Coast?
The change of seasons. The first three or four years I was in California, I felt something physically wrong when there was no change of seasons. I miss the fall the most, the foliage. I even miss the bitter cold, in small doses.
What word or phrase do you use most often?
Well, I swear with ridiculous frequency. It starts with an F.
What’s your ideal Saturday?
I haven’t had one in a while, but it would be getting up early enough to have a little quiet time. Then working out, spending some time with my husband, reading some comic books.
You worked as a reporter before going into politics. What’s your favorite question to ask interview subjects?
What do you think is one of the more important technological developments in recent years?
Email and texting. I was a newspaper reporter before email, really. I remember when I moved to California, in 1991, I met a guy who had a pager, and I immediately assumed he was a drug dealer.
How much is too much to pay for a good cup of coffee?
I don’t like coffee, so five cents is too much.
What’s your hidden talent?
I cannot dance. I cannot sing. But I make an amazing raw organic apple pie.