Mat Smith is under no illusions when it comes to his bid to dethrone incumbent CD-11 Mike Bonin.
Smith, a war veteran who served in Egypt and Somalia, describes LA’s Westside itself as “the best place on Earth,” but the place he’s called home for decades has gone through tough times.
“I’ve been considering moving to Texas because the area is collapsing.”
So fighting back was the only real option for Mr. Smith.
‘I am a soldier. There are things we can do to improve our current situation,” noted Smith, who runs his own medical supply company for the critically ill as he prepared for a trip to San Diego after our 45-minute interview.
“I have no political experience. I have no political ambitions. I just want to improve the lives of the people here in the district,” noted Smith, who attended Loyola High School.
“I had no idea how much a councilor actually earns. The level of the salary means that I am more committed to offering voters a choice.”
The 15-member LA City Council is the highest-paid city council in the United States, earning more than any sitting US governor, US senator and members of the US House of Representatives.
Smith, a supporter of Mike Bonin’s recall, emphasized the need to build immediate, temporary housing to get people off the streets now with drug and alcohol rehabilitation at the heart of curing the district’s current homeless epidemic.
Smith was passionate about the plight of the homeless, especially homeless veterans who he knows have fallen through the cracks of the current housing crisis.
Smith, a husband and father with one son, has lived in the area since 1973 and believes his core values of “hard work, common sense and practical solutions” are the currency needed to be socially successful.
Characterizing his politics as ‘socially liberal, but fiscally conservative’, this local surfer and swimmer has a ‘deep love’ for beaches like Venice, and will work to make our coastline ‘safe, clean and sustainable’.
During his time in the military, Smith delivered supplies and supplies to soldiers and refugees in extremely challenging circumstances, such as Operation Bright Star. Smith received multiple awards, including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.
When asked about the prospect of debating the other candidates in the race, he looked forward to comparing and contrasting his ideas with the other challengers.
“I understand adversity. I was deployed to Somalia during a humanitarian crisis amid famine, social collapse and civil war.”
Smith agreed that homelessness has spiraled out of control and agrees that in many ways Venice has become a kind of “containment zone” that is counterproductive to sensible solutions and real results.
“Public service means so much to me. I want to help others, especially the homeless who are suffering. We need a change in leadership.”
Antonicello is an editorial page contributor for Yo! Venice and has served on numerous committees with the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and will provide insight into the upcoming city council campaign in LA’s 11th Council District. To reach Antonicello, call (310) 621-3775 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.