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The Case for Bernard Parks: Leadership Is Not a Crime, Greed Is Not Good

The entire labor movement from the County Federation to the SEIU, police union and the DWP’s IBEW union is funding a million dollar campaign against Councilman Bernard Parks — the only Council member who actually knows the city budget, and has consistently fought to rein in spending and put LA on a sound financial footing.

His crime in the union leaders’ minds is that he is fiscally responsible, brings badly-needed business and jobs to his community whether or not they are union jobs and has filled the vacuum of leadership left by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa going from dictator of policy to a cipher pandering to the wealthy and powerful.bernard_parks2010-small.jpg

Greed may be legal but that doesn’t mean it’s good.

The city is suffering from drastic cuts in core services and so are working people — with half a million people in LA unemployed or under-employed and many in the city workforce suffering loss of income from furloughs and inevitably facing layoffs unless Parks prevails in actually confronting the worsening budget crisis.

Union leaders care nothing about this; they just want stooges.

They are backing Forescee Hogan-Rowles with a staggering amount of their members’ money in a desperate effort to oust Parks so they can keep on bleeding the city dry in a feeding frenzy that will lead to bankruptcy, massive job and service cuts and a chaotic situation that will harm everyone for years to come.

Hogan-Rowles is their patsy, a woman whose service on the DWP Commission was marked by her ignorance of policy and a 100 percent record of voting for rate hikes and massive salary increases to IBEW workers.

She ran against Parks eight years ago and finished fourth in a field of five with less than 5 percent of the vote while the former LAPD Chief — one of the few Council members who actually achieved something outside the political arena — got 78 percent of the vote.

Hogan-Rowles also got caught violating city ethics rules and was hit with an 11-count complaint. that could have led to $55,000 in fines. But ethics enforcement being what it is, she was let off with barely 3 percent of that, $1,650.

For all his self-promotion and kowtowing to billionaires, the mayor is silent in this race even though Parks was instrumental in his election in 2005 over James Hahn who had strong support in the black community.

The reason for his silence has a lot to do with County Federation of Labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, someone Villaraigosa has met with more often than anyone else in town, someone who talks about “working people” but only means that small fraction of workers who are union members.

Durazo and IBEW union boss Brian D’Arcy are using their vast treasuries to operate independent expenditure committees to buy tens of thousands of dollars in TV ads and barrage voters with mailers disparaging Parks.

Union leaders used to stand for more than this, for the betterment of all workers, and the health of their communities.

The mayor knows better. He once stood for more, promised to help us reach our higher ideals, be our better selves. He has given labor almost everything it wants; now is the time to give the people what they need.

Without Parks and his only ally on the budget, Greig Smith who is retiring, the city’s fiscal crisis will grow worse in a hurry.

There is at least a $350 million deficit next year and even bigger deficits looming in the years beyond.

There is only one way out of this crisis and it calls for great leadership. It calls for unions to face reality and make concessions that reduce the cost of payroll, pensions and health and it calls for the public to face their responsibilities and pay more for a period of time to avoid drastic cuts in services.

The LA Clean Sweep movement endorsed Parks because he is the only incumbent running on March 8 who has a record of honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility.

LA needs Bernard Parks and others who will stand with him to make progress in alleviating poverty, preserving the middle class and growing the economy for everyone’s benefit.

It doesn’t need yet another stooge for narrow, special interests.

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23 Responses to The Case for Bernard Parks: Leadership Is Not a Crime, Greed Is Not Good

  1. tea says:

    if Parks is so keen on addressing the budget, why doesn’t he stop double dipping? He is the only elected official in L.A. to receive double incomes from the City. Also, why hasn’t his staff suffered pay cuts (aka furloughs) like the vast majority of City personnel.

  2. tea says:

    if Parks is so keen on addressing the budget, why doesn’t he stop double dipping? He is the only elected official in L.A. to receive double incomes from the City. Also, why hasn’t his staff suffered pay cuts (aka furloughs) like the vast majority of City personnel.

  3. Anonymout says:

    Parks isn’t the only one playing games with the budget. Carmen the Clown Trutanich is bluffing over not having enough money to prosecute minor crimes, and shut down a couple of offices just to show the City that he means business. But if a proposal delivered to all 15 Councilmembers is adopted, Trutanich could find that he’s been outsourced to the DA’s Office!
    You should read the article at http://losangelesdragnet.blogspot.com/
    It seems to make sense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Antonio changes friends and loyalties faster and more often than his $300 shirts. He has become a liability and an embarrassement to LA.

  5. Anonymous says:

    OK, enough of this anti-Trutanich crap by one person. He is still the best elected we have in the city, so f—off. I’ll vote for him for DA, if he, unlike Cooley promises to rid City Hall of all the other elected vermin.

  6. Anonymous says:

    OMG This is why some of the LA Sweep guys have come out against Parks endorsement. Are you kidding me? Parks not that long ago gave Magic Johnson a $30 million LAX concession because Magic gave the most to his campaign. Parks was a pussy and hid out until council took the final vote to take over DWP. They needed his vote but he acted like a coward and hid until he heard the squawk box say the tally. HE WAS IN THE BUILDING. PARKS pushed a motion to cut Neighborhood Council’s budget by 80%. He voted to give DWP managers back pay of $5 million, He votes with the crooks on council to support everything DWP. He pretended to be against the parking garage sale but ended up VOTING YES anyway. Can you name one damn time this failure has done anything for the people?
    “record of honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility.” This is the most laughable statement yet. This asshole was not confirmed to be Chief for another term by the idiots who now sit on council with him. He was a FAILURE as Chief and cops hate his ass. LA Clean Sweep endorsing this moron showed a lot of people citywide you don’t know what you’re doing and hurt your crediability. When some of your own group and I mean more then 4 come out against this endorsement they at least had the good sense to say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  7. Anonymous says:

    4:20 p.m. some of us don’t give a damn about what the over-paid and idiot cops think who respond like an invading army for infractions. If your earlier argument was that City Attorney misdemeanor crimes should be shipped out to the DA, then LAPD should be disbanded and duties handed over to the Sheriff’s Dept:. Parks is not perfect, but far superior to the union whore being pushed down.

  8. I don’t care for the union hack running against Parks, but lavishing praise on the former chief as a fiscally responsible member of the council is over the top. He has caved on almost every key spending decision.
    Let him sink or swim on his own without an endorsement.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this, Parks is showing leadership on reigning in the cost of labor by double-dipping taking over $270,000 in pension benefits on top of his $178,000 city council member salary plus benefit?
    And he brings jobs to the community? Have you seen all the failed redevelopment projects in his area. And don’t say it’s a South LA problem. Wesson and Perry have continued to have multi-million dollar redevelopment projects sprout up in areas far more depressed than Parks’ district. Some of them are literally right across the street.
    Ron Kaye, Republicans, and the anti-rent control forces who are lining up for Parks are in for a rude awakening. Your statements are not being lost on the on the ground South LA activist like myself who have had to fight him on everything from getting tables to community events to revocation hearings for liquor stores where our kids are getting shot.
    If you people like him so much, TAKE HIM!

  10. Walter Moore says:

    What is that voting record of the City Council again? Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, they all vote the same way?
    Every incumbent needs to be replaced. Otherwise, what incentive does any of them have to toe the line? None.

  11. South LA resident says:

    Where do I begin? Parks has NOT brought badly needed businesses and jobs to the South LA community. Quite on the contrary, he has brought businesses and projects that do not benefit the vast majority of the community, but a very very select few. Not to mention that the majority of the jobs produced by these projects are given to people outside of the community and that most of these projects do not make financial sense. (As a Wharton Alumni, I think I know how to analyze financial statements. All the projects that I have seen Parks support make no financial sense, because of the deficiencies in their cost analysis and/or financial forecasts.) We, the South LA community, need someone who will actually represent US and our needs. Someone who will work with the community members to find answers to the many issues and problems that this district faces. I have been a resident of South LA for over 20 years. The last 5 years, I have been an active member of the community and I’m NOT a part of any union. And, I can say firmly that there is one sentiment that is shared throughout the vast organizations and activist of this district, and that is that Parks is a HORRIBLE leader. There are countless examples where Parks speaks against community organizers and groups; where he refuses to listen and address the concerns of the constituents of the 8th District; where he blatantly screws over middle and low income class families in the district by pushing projects whose benefits are obviously offset by their detriments to the community. The 8th district desperately needs a leader and Parks has proved very well in 8 years that he is not fit for the job.

  12. NormaSkock says:

    Ron – I love you, but you have it all wrong. Parks is the major impediment to this city turning around. Parks oversees the Dept. of Finance and refuses to make the necessary fixes so that the Dept. can collect the millions of dollars owed to the city. If that money was collected, the city wouldn’t be having the financial problems it’s having. Also, he votes with the rest of the clowns 99% of the time, and he’s the only councilman who’s refused to cut his salary 10% while authorizing furloughs for everyone else.
    The voters need to replace the entire council. They’re all corrupt and inept, especially the ones who have been in there for more than six years. Just look at the results. Hope you’ll reconsider your endorsement here.

  13. Anonymous says:

    3:19pm You’ve had “enough of this anti-Trutanich crap by one person.” Bet you won’t be saying that if you found yourself hauled into one of his Administrative Penalties Kangaroo Courts that he wanted to set up. You might have installed a replacement water heater without a permit, or had a yard fence that was too high, or just had an untidy yard, and there you would be, without the right to a public defender, and there would be someone sitting as judge and jury over whether or not to fine you $2,000 and that person just so happens to be a city attorney. You like that scenario? That’s what “the best elected we have in the city” wanted to do to you and thousands like you, because he got to get a slice of the $2k, and you got the right to hire a private attorney to try to get the lien off your house because the whole crazy idea was unconstitutional. I’m sorry, I don’t much care for any of the CMs, but Trutanich is poisonous. That was his idea of how to solve the city’s budget problem.

  14. anonymous says:

    11:53 PM-I agree with your take on the administrative hearings and appeals. These hearings and appeals are so bad. Imagine a policeman being the hearing officer (judge/jury) for a traffic citation. He rules in favor of his fellow union member who issued the ticket. Then, if the defendant isn’t feeling too hopeless, he/she can appeal to the commission (judge/jury) for that department. While it doesn’t happen with traffic citations, it does with zoning, planning, building violations and animals.
    Somehow, conflict of interest comes to mind. It’s anything but impartial.
    I’m curious if other cities conduct administrative hearings and appeals this way. If a person appeals the commission rulings, do the hearing and appeal decisions impact the judge’s (a real judge for a writ) ruling?
    For the record, however, this set up existed years before Nuch was ever in office.

  15. Phil McCracken says:

    I can’t believe that with all the corrupt and inept things the Mayor and City Clowncil are actually doing, that anyone really gives a shit about some administrative hearing program that never got off the ground.
    What about the hundreds of millions of dollars that the city is owed and is not collecting?
    What about the football stadium boondogle that’s currently on the table, and being prepared to shove down our throats, at a high cost to the taxpayers?
    What about that our city council can often not reach a quorum because the morons cannot get there on time, as they’re required to do by city charter?
    Trutanich is just trying to be creative and come up with solutions. He has done more for this city in a few short months than most of the other city officials have done in their long public careers.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ron, I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. Parks, along with Greig Smith, are the main two fiscally responsible leaders on the City Council. Without their leadership there would be no sound fiscal decisions being made at a time when the City needs it the most. Clearly, his opponent is deep in the pocket of Brian D’Arcy and the IBEW at a time when the City can least afford it. We can’t afford to have a UNION PUPPET representing the 8th District. She is unqualified to hold office at this level.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Maybe what Ron could have said about Parks is this – that, as usual, picking a candidate to endorse for city council is more about knowing this devil, then the one you don’t.
    Seems also that most people responding on this blog share the same sentiments other engaged community members have. That, for the most part, their council members don’t work for them.
    I agree. Throw all incumbents out. (Except for Parks – he’s obviously a better Satan since he’s not answerable to the unions, etc.). Send a message to the rest of the council that the clock ticks for them too. Because they refuse to fix what’s wrong with this broken city.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hogan-Rowles is unqualified? Is that some kind of a joke?
    In addition to having an MBA from Pepperdine, over the past 8 years as the CEO of a nonprofit that specializes in community development, she has created more jobs than Parks!
    That’s what this city needs and that’s what the district’s residents want.
    You complain about pension reform, Bernard Parks is the poster child for pension reform! He takes home over a quarter million per year through his pension, on top of his $178,000 city council salary.
    And at 99.997% unanimous vote rate, how can any of the current bums claim they’re the lone objector????
    Every time this comes up on this blog, multiple people ask how has Parks displayed his fiscal conservatism. No one ever responds. He’s the chair of the Budget Committee. Smith is the Vice Chair. How are they not top on the list of people to blame?
    I’d really prefer if people would come out and be honest about why you’re for Parks – he’s a closet Republican.

  19. Caace1 says:

    I agree with Walter & Paul. Parks should not be endorsed. For all the talk about his reputation of being a fiscal conservative, his voting says otherwise. If that was the case, you’d see more 14-1, 13-2, or 12-3 votes for these ridiculous budget agenda items or for any contracts the CRA, CDD, LAHD or DCA wanted to do out of the state or country! http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=c.search&tab=contract.
    Did you see this $40,177 contract for paid stay in a 4-star or better hotel, per diem, transportation and performance in Guadalajara, Mexico?
    Mr Parks, Couldn’t $46,200 have gone to local workers instead of sending the money to Mexico?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Parks is not exempt and by no means the best leader council has to offer. While he may not have sold his soul to the Unions; may possess a dislike to be social butterfly aka want to be celebrity like the Mayor, he should not be viewed as a man of integrity or fiscal responsibility. Parks initial response when asked to take a salary cut was something along the lines of, cutting my salary won’t offset the budget deficit. Yet, it is Parks’ bright idea to reform the pension plan and eliminate the double dipping. Gee, if he was damn keen on addressing the budget, why doesn’t he stop double dipping?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Parks is not exempt and by no means the best leader council has to offer. While he may not have sold his soul to the Unions; may possess a dislike to be social butterfly aka want to be celebrity like the Mayor, he should not be viewed as a man of integrity or fiscal responsibility. Parks initial response when asked to take a salary cut was something along the lines of, cutting my salary won’t offset the budget deficit. Yet, it is Parks’ bright idea to reform the pension plan and eliminate the double dipping. Gee, if he was damn keen on addressing the budget, why doesn’t he stop double dipping?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Please note that City rules prohibit double-dipping by any employee except for elected positions. It is legal, so the word double-dipping does not apply in this situation. A double-dipper is the Mayor’s appointee, Bud Ovrum, head of Building & Safety, who collects a huge pension from CRA and an equally high salary.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Also a high double dipper is another ex-CRA-CEO RICHARD BENBOW. He become CRA CEO after Bud Ovrum. Later the mayor then appointed him as head of the City’s Community Development Department to get him to leave the CRA quietly, so the Mayor could appoint another CRA CEO. Thus, Benbow retired from the CRA with almost $200,000 pension, and began immediately receving the CDD salary of about $200,000. This is a common practice.

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