few of us were surprised to read a recent Los Angeles Times article
in how Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks put the FBI on
County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, the person that defeated
(and demoralized) him the same night America elected its first black
President. Ridley-Thomas’ landslide was bigger than Obama’s. Some
say it was worse than the whipping the late 2nd District Supervisor,
Kenny Hahn, put on retired judge and former 8th district councilman,
Billy Mills. The old-timers remember that one and they talk about
it like Louis-Schmeling, Clay-Liston, Foreman-Frazier. Well, on
this election night, Howard Cosell would have been shouting from
his broadcast booth, “Down goes Parks, Down goes Parks, Down goes
Parks.” The support out there for Parks was basically Westside Republicans
(and of course, L.A. Sentinel-you knew I couldn’t miss that
opportunity). And he took about the same kind of whuppin the national
“Parks effect,” caused by his non-rehiring as police chief and being
an aggrieved grandfather, had worn off. The polish was off this
boot, and enough people had run up against this arrogant, defiant
(some might even say deviant) cop turned “pretend” politician, that
he had about as much of a chance of being County Supervisor as I
did—and I wasn’t on the ballot. Everybody knew how Parks got on
City Council, but few knew why he got on the council until it evidenced
itself a year later when it became obvious that it was a total revenge
against former Mayor James Hahn. Parks needed the council seat to
launch a faux Mayoral bid—not to win, but to draw enough black support
to cause Hahn to lose.
that’s exactly how it played out. Parks is doing to Ridley-Thomas
what he did to Willie Williams, the FIRST African American Chief
of Police that was brought in over Parks. What he did to Jim Hahn,
whose beef with Parks ran back to the days when Hahn was City Attorney
and paying out record police abuse settlements that then assistant
chief Parks defended, dissing Hahn every step of the way. And what
he did to the very district he purportedly represents when he sunk
projects that had either Ridley-Thomas’ or Mayor Hahn’s fingerprints
on them. Parks whole essence in his latte-day public life has been
about sowing the seeds of revenge. But this is a new low.
master of the “story plant” (a carryover from his police training),
Parks suggested in his election night “sour loser” comments after
his supervisor seat defeat, a classless display of refusing to concede
and baseless allegations, that we hadn’t heard the last of this.
We thought he was just delusional after taking the thumpin’ he took.
He couldn’t even believe he lost like that. There certainly had
to be some foul play afoot. Naw, the true sentiment of the people
finally played out. Not everybody was in love with Mark, though
clearly many were, but they damn sure had no love for Bernie. It
wasn’t uncommon to hear people say they make a mistake in voting
for the “po’lice.” And it was more a knock on Parks than the cops,
because they remember what kind of cop Parks was.
Gates cop that often defended the indefensible for the sake of “blue,”
Parks blind ambition always put the community behind his own. And
his revenge plays were legendary. You have never seen a former cop
that couldn’t pull not one major police endorsement, from anywhere.
All the big ones endorsed Ridley-Thomas. When the people who worked
with you 30 plus years won’t endorse, the community certainly should
have that tune in our heads, “God is trying to tell you something,
right now, Right Now, RIGHT NOW!!! All you Colored Purple folks
know what I’m talking about. But for some reason, we missed it.
Missed it BIGTIME.
Parks took over Leimert Park after succeeding Ridley-Thomas in the
councilmatic eighth district, the area was thriving and poised to
do some major economic development with a newly approved business
improvement district (BID). The first thing Parks did was dismantle
the CDC, started by Ridley-Thomas, that got the BID approved and
was funding for it to be funded so it could run the BID. When Parks
gave the BID contract to a competing non-profit, the CDC folded.
Then Parks dismantled a $5 million dollar development to bring a
three story office with a roof top garden restaurant and opportunity
for reduced rents office space for the Leimert Park merchants on
a lot at 43rd and Degnan.
city owns the land, the developers were the CDC and the major investor,
who was set to move his television and radio studios to tape his
show “live from Leimert Park. The city was in, the financing was
in, the merchants were in. All the community needed was their councilman
to advance the development through city council. Because Parks saw
this as “Hahn’s deal” and “Ridley-Thomas’ CDC sweetheart deal,”
though the community would have benefited greatly, Parks refused
to carry the deal. The investor tired of waiting, pulled out and
the deal fell apart. Parks’ revenge played out on the community,
but he had a great replacement for the multi-million dollar deal…a
farmers market. Lowest use benefit for the highest valued vacant
land in the area. Genius. While trying to make a comeback, Leimert
Park is still just a shell of its former self. The community never
got over it, and still hasn’t.
when the community went with Ridley-Thomas, Parks went to the feds
and the newspapers. The L.A. Times, always willing to get
in the middle of a good community fight, took it and ran with it.
The feds are stiffin’ around for something that is not there, but
on a “police tip” they’re obligated to investigate it. So, here
we are again, the community being compromised because revenge is
the primary motivation. When it comes to Parks and righting his
failed ambitions, wrong after wrong seems to make it right for him.
Or at least even. And where does that leave us, the community? In
the middle of a frustrated career cop’s revenge play.
Any BlackCommentator.com article may
be re-printed so long as it is re-printed in its entirety and full
credit given to the author and www.BlackCommentator.com. If the
re-print is on the Internet we additionally request a link back
to the original piece on our Website.
Your comments are always welcome.
eMail re-print notice
If you send us an eMail message
we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it
is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold
Thank you very much for your readership.
Your comments are always welcome.
1 , 2009
published every Thursday
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Est. April 5, 2002
Printer Friendly Version
in resizeable plain
text format or pdf