Sunday, March 4, 2012

Someone in Los Angeles Does Not Like Bernard Parks

Who in Los Angeles does not like Bernard Parks?

Willie Montgomery, Philadelphia’s Police Chief, was appointed LA Police Chief to replace the embattled Daryl Gates in the aftermath of the Rodney King Riots. Chief Montgomery did not “work out.”

Mayor Richard Riordan promoted an internal candidate, Chief Deputy Bernard Parks, to a 5 year term as Police Chief. Chief Parks was a 32 year veteran of the LAPD.

Chief Parks pushed accountability, professionalism, and responsibility onto the LAPD, which was also reeling from the Ramparts Scandal. Reform of the LAPD was long overdue.

Chief Parks was popular with the public and the media, but not the Police Protective League, the police union.

He was not reappointed Chief at the end of his term. He remained a public citizen.

He was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2003, representing a major part of
South Central Los Angeles. The African American community liked his efforts to reduce crime.

City Council members often run for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Bernard sought an open seat in 2008, but lost to Mark Ridley-Thomas. The public employee unions poured over $8.2 million into the Ridley-Thomas campaign.

Once in office, Ridley-Thomas proved to be a political hack and in thrall to the unions.

What’s the problem with Bernard Parks, a public servant whose integrity has never been questioned? As Chair of the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, he sought fiscal accountability and responsibility for the City of Angels, which is headed to bankruptcy. He often stood up to the unions.

He won reelection to the Council last year, in spite of the $1.2 million the unions contributed to his opponent, Forescee Hogan-Rowles.

LA is in trouble Now comes round three in the Dump Parks Crusade.

Los Angeles, like the rest of the country, is reapportioning its districts. Redistricting can always be painful for some incumbents, but this year is especially petty and vindictive in LA. Herb Wesson, the Council President, is exercising raw, political power. Redistricting would be difficulty in any event as political power is shifting in LA from African-Americans to Hispanics because of demographic changes.

Herb Wesson is African-American, but his Council allies are Hispanic. Andrew Westall, his close friend and former political aide, is the Executive Director of the Redistricting Committee. Neither Bernard Parks nor Council Woman Jan Perry supported Herb Wesson’s ascendancy to Council President.

Wesson removed Parks from the Budget and Finance Committee a few months ago.

The new council districts remove major parts of the existing districts from Council members Parks and Perry. Indeed, by an amazing coincidence, their existing residences lie outside the new districts. Westall is alleged to have told one of Parks’ aides at a meeting “Go tell your boss to F… himself.” Commissioner Jose Cornejo is rumored to be running for one of the new districts created by his Commission.

Angeles isin trouble.

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