*The voter revolt that is going on in Los Angeles’ 8th councilmatic district turned serious last week when several political and community heavyweights came out against incumbent councilman, Bernie “Daddy Bear” Parks.
This, in the face of Parks’ councilmate, Jan Perry, trying to minimalize the revolt as a single local labor leader “throwing a tantrum” and trying to teach Parks a lesson. She also said that “most will acknowledge” that his opposition wasn’t a viable candidate. I don’t kno who’s she’s talking to, but it ain’t the community.
It’s interesting how power changes people. I remember when they said Jan Perry wasn’t a viable candidate and the “powers that be” were trying to keep community folk away from her. In fact, Forescee Hogan-Rowles is more viable now with 20 years economic development experience than Ms. Perry was when she ran (as a council office staffer).
They also said Barack Obama wasn’t a “viable candidate” (remember when Hillary, and Magic Johnson, was saying “he couldn’t win”). They said Kamala Harris wasn’t a viable candidate and couldn’t win. They said she wasn’t going to beat “Mighty Whitey” (Steve Cooley) in his own backyard, and just like Parks-Cooley was dismissive of Harris. Well, guess what happened? Moreover, guess what’s about to happen. Parks and Perry can dismiss this movement if they want to. Change is in the air.
The thing about Forescee is she has the same thing Ms. Perry had at the time she ran, an optimism about changing the future quality of life in her district, and an adamant rejection of the status quo politics that made her the people’s choice. I also remember Ms. Perry was an upset winner, largely because of community support and pulling in organizers who could throw a tantrum or two. There was no better “tantrum thrower” than the late Juanita Tate from Concerned Citizens (God rest her soul). Juanita would cuss everybody in the campaign out at least once a week, including the candidate. Yessiree, those were the days, huh Jan? When she was with the people. She’s now a “status quo” “big business” politician positioning herself for a future leap and trying to save her drowning boat mate. You would think she’d know a tantrum when she saw one, and Brian D’arcy’s wasn’t it. We about to show you a tantrum and a little bit more. Voter revolt is an act of mass dissatisfaction-voter dissatisfaction, combined with constituent dissatisfaction, combined with stakeholder dissatisfaction. However, people tend to trivialize things when they lose touch.
The Parks campaign wants to make this revolt about labor. But his refusal to stop double-dipping, overpaying his son on the city payroll and both refusing to partake in the shared sacrifice of other city employees pay-cuts and furloughs only lit the fuse of this revolt. Parks wants to say people are circulating “misinformation” about him, and I must admit…I did circulate one piece of misinformation for which I’m truly sorry. Last week, I said Baby Parks made $128,746. I’ve since confirmed he makes $154,846, $26,000 MORE than I previously said (three-fourths of what the average wage earner makes in the 8th District). So I wanted to correct the record, but back to my point…Parks does seem to engage in the very same “pay to play” campaign contribution politics that he accused former Mayor James Hahn of playing. He did take illegal MTA contributions while sitting on the MTA Board. He did take Rave contributions while sitting Coliseum Commission, when the community clearly didn’t want Rave parties at the Coliseum. He does take credit for projects he had little or nothing to do with. He brags about the $100 million dollar government development that the community didn’t want and he still blames others for commercial developments he can’t do…like Marlton Square, that has been undeveloped his entire tenure in office. Conversely, the worse thing to happen to our community was the closing of King Hospital, which also happened on a predecessors watch, but was restructured, refunded and re-opened IN ONE YEAR. The most common compliant about Parks is his council office is not responsive. People are tired of the excuses and his narcissistic, autocratic mentality that nobody knows anything and he knows everything…but does nothing or next to nothing.
One local union “throwing a tantrum” would not get six others and the County Federation to come in on a race they didn’t think they could win. Unions are more concerned about winning than about proving a point or teaching somebody a lesson. I guess the County Democratic Committee threw a tantrum too when 56% of the delegates voted for Forescee and only 14% for Parks. I guess all six neighborhood councils are throwing tantrums too. Maybe because Parks gutted their budgets. I guess almost all the elected officials whose districts touch a piece of the 8th district, who rarely endorse against incumbents, are throwing tantrums too? Or maybe they just want someone they can work with. Some might even say the black press is throwing a tantrum…at least Betty Pleasant and myself. But we throw tantrums about everything, so we’re used to the pushback. But we write about what the community is feeling and rarely are our topics the same for three consecutive weeks. We pride ourselves on knowing what others don’t. I guess even retired Congresswoman Watson threw a tantrum, huh? Or maybe she co-endorsed Forescee after finding out she was in Parks campaign literature without her permission. So now she’s endorsing both. That’s sort of a revolt when a popular community leader does that. Usually if they are conflicted they just stay out of it. A significant number of Forescee supporters used to be Parks supporters until they got disrespected in some way or another. Or disillusioned. And all you have to do to find out the level of distain for the current representation, get on the phone at Forescee’s campaign office for an hour, make 60 calls and look at the 51 responses that say “ANYBODY BUT PARKS.” You then know there is a revolt in effect. Several people have stopped me in the past week, seeing my FORESCEE button, asking how do they meet Forescee. They want to get to know her. Go to www.Forescee.com , go to Contact Us and request a meet and greet, or the campaign has “Meet Forescee” on Monday nights at 7 p.m. I guess these people about to throw tantrums too. Call it what you want…
I guess the people of Egypt threw a tantrum too, but they got their 30 year President to resign. The voters of the 8th District are tired after eight years. And they all are throwing tantrums too, if you let Jan Perry tell it. But it’s really more than that. I guess change could look like a tantrum if it’s going against you. On March 8th the majority of voters in the 8th Distrcit will reject Bernie Parks in a full effect voter revolt. Watch.
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum (www.urbanissuesforum.com) and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com.