July 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Opinion: A Call to Public Service: U.S. Army Veteran Mat Smith Makes Longshot Bid for the LA City Council

Mat Smith has no illusions when it comes to his bid to unseat CD-11 incumbent Mike Bonin. 

A combat veteran who was deployed in Egypt and Somalia, Smith self-describes LA’s Westside as “the best place on earth,” but the place he has called home for decades has fallen upon hard times. 

“I considered moving to Texas because the area is in collapse.” 

So fighting back was the only true option for Mr. Smith. 

“I’m a military guy. There are things we can do to improve our current situation,” noted Smith who runs his own medical delivery business for the critically ill as he was preparing 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 people here in the district,” noted Smith, who attended Loyola High School. 

“I had no idea how much a council member actually makes. The size of the salary makes me more committed to offering voters a choice.”

The fifteen-member LA City Council is the highest-paid municipal council in the United States, earning more than every sitting US Governor, US Senator and Members of the US House of Representatives. 

A supporter of the recall of Mike Bonin, Smith stressed a need to build immediate, temporary housing to get people off the streets now with drug and alcohol rehabilitation at the core of curing the current homeless epidemic in the district. 

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. 

A husband and Dad with a son, Smith has resided in the area since 1973 and believes his core values of “hard work, common sense and practical solutions” are the currency required to be civically successful.  

Characterizing his politics as “socially liberal, yet 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 goods and supplies to soldiers and refugees in extraordinarily challenging conditions such as Operation Bright Star. Smith received multiple commendations including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Good Conduct Medal, 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 to the other challengers. 

“I understand adversity. I was deployed in Somalia in the face of a humanitarian crisis in the midst of famine, social breakdown and civil war.”

Smith agreed that homelessness has spun out of control and agrees in many ways Venice has become a “containment zone” of sorts which is counterproductive to sensible solutions and real results. 

“Public service means so much to me. I want to help others, especially the homelessness 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 offer insights on the upcoming council campaign in LA’s 11th Council District. To reach Antonicello, call (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com.

in Opinion
Related Posts

Letter to the Editor: Criticizing Israeli Policy Is Not Antisemitic

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

In the past several months, we’ve seen increasing protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza. We have also seen these protests...

Opinion: Toxic Exposure May Impact Veterans’ Health Even Today

April 29, 2024

April 29, 2024

By Cristina Johnson  Military service members spend years in hazardous environments unknowingly, often developing fatal illnesses decades after their service....

If You Have a Loved One Experiencing Severe Mental Illness, We Can Help

February 15, 2024

February 15, 2024

By Lisa H. Wong, Psy. D Many families across Los Angeles County know what it’s like to watch a loved...

New Program Can Help Protect Southern California Homes in the Event of an Earthquake

May 13, 2023

May 13, 2023

Residents Have Until May 31 To Apply For Seismic Retrofit Grants By Janiele Maffei, Chief Mitigation Officer for the California...

Column: Install at LAX Tiny Homes From The State Grant

April 7, 2023

April 7, 2023

By Clark Brown On March 16  Governor Newsom announced in Sacramento, his first stop on his State of the State of...

Column: SB 9 Ended R-1 Zoning, but It’s Not Meeting Goals

March 11, 2023

March 11, 2023

By Tom Elias More than a year after it took effect, the landmark housing density law known as SB 9...

Column: The Inevitable Conversions Begin Multiplying

February 25, 2023

February 25, 2023

By Tom Elias It’s a phenomenon from New York to Dallas to Fresno and Los Angeles, one that seemed inevitable...

Column: The Fantasy World of California Housing Policy

February 20, 2023

February 20, 2023

By Tom Elias If you’re looking for sure things among bills under consideration in the state Legislature, think of one...

Column: State Usurping Key Powers From Cities

January 28, 2023

January 28, 2023

By Tom Elias All over California last fall, hundreds of the civic minded spent thousands of hours and millions of...

Column – A California Positive: Kids Swarm Extra Classes

January 24, 2023

January 24, 2023

By Tom Elias It’s become a cliché, the shibboleth that California has lousy public schools and most of the kids...

​​Column: No One Very Pleased as New Rooftop Solar Rules Improve

December 9, 2022

December 9, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist Only rarely does the California Public Utilities Commission, long known as the least responsive agency in...

Column: Will New Political Players Offer More Effective Local Government for Los Angeles & Venice?

December 5, 2022

December 5, 2022

Bass, Park could become unlikely allies in fighting homelessness, rising crime and the quality-of-life issues that plague both Angelenos and...

Column – Gas Gougers Beware: California Is Onto You at Last

November 11, 2022

November 11, 2022

By Tom Elias It has taken more than 50 years of on-and-off gasoline price gouging, but at long last California...

$87,581,047.01: Candidate Rick Caruso on Pace to Smash All Spending Records in His Bid to Become Mayor of Los Angeles

November 4, 2022

November 4, 2022

Caruso overwhelming Bass nearly 10-1! By Nick Antonicello According to the LA Ethics Commission as of October 31st, billionaire developer...

“Ten Takes” to Watch as CD-11 Hopefuls Park & Darling Close out the Campaign in a Mad Dash to the Finish Line!

November 4, 2022

November 4, 2022

By Nick Antonicello And after some sixteen months of posturing, positioning and intensive campaigning be it door to door, shaking...