Councilmember Bernard C. Parks took the oath of office for his third and final term on the Los Angeles City Council. City Clerk June Lagmay swore Parks in, as family, friends and staff members gathered in his City Hall office.
Though Parks’ new term does not begin until July 1st, city rules require election winners to take the oath beforehand, so they are able to execute the duties of the office upon and after that date. Parks may still hold a more symbolic, ceremonial swearing-in at a later time.
After originally winning office in a record-breaking landslide in 2003 and being re-elected with no opposition in 2007, the 2011 race for the Eighth District Seat took a bizarre twist with three labor bosses with no ties to the Eighth District dumping more than $1.2 million of their union members’ money into a campaign built to unseat Parks; their effort apparently inspired by the Councilmember’s refusal to support financial benefits for their members as the city teeters near bankruptcy.
Despite outspending Parks three to one, the special interest group’s propped-up opponent failed even to force a runoff, and Parks declared victory on the night of the election, March 8th.
In the end, Parks won 74 of his District’s 97 precincts, meaning that the labor forces against him spent about $51,037.07 per precinct and about $145.73 per vote. Parks is no stranger to these types of demonstrations. In 2008, some of the same labor bosses spent about $8.5 million against him in his bid for a seat on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. In all, they’ve spent nearly $10 million against one person in two elections over three years.
Furthermore, Parks finished with 9,482 votes which was about what other winning Councilmembers totaled. Though, none of them faced nearly the monetary challenges his campaign did.
Even though much of the labor bosses efforts focused on negative and false portrayals of Parks(Parks Faces Re-Election Campaign, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2011), he believes his opponents actually aided his victory.
“They didn’t know the District,” Parks says. “And, all their money didn’t make them any smarter. Fortunately, our voters realized that they were being solicited by the Three Stooges of L.A. politics.”
By the time Parks finishes this term, he will have served 50 years with the City of Los Angeles. He began his career with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1965 and became Chief in 1997, where he created the nation’s first Cold Case Unit, led the department through historic drops in crime and fired more than 130 problem police officers; more than any Chief in recent history.
As a Councilmember, Parks has chaired the Budget and Finance Committee, where he has successfully managed to keep the city afloat through an unprecedented budget crisis.
The Eighth Council District includes the neighborhoods of Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Vista, Leimert Park, West Adams, Jefferson Park, Vermont Knolls, Hyde Park, Angeles Mesa, University Park, Marlton Square and other areas of South Los Angeles.