Tag Archives: Bernard Parks

Campaign Update: CA-03, CA-04, CA-50, CA-46, SD-19, CA-42, LA Board of Supes

The latest from the campaigns:

• General: Democratic challengers ought to take a close look at two bills passed through the House this week that make conservative priorities pretty clear.  HR 6983, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity Act, finally limits the ability of insurance companies to prohibit treatment of mental health in their policies.  John Campbell, Darrell Issa, Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher were among the 47 Republicans to vote against it.  HR 5244, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, would severely limit predatory lending from an industry that is at least a partial cause of the current crisis in credit.  Brian Bilbray, David Dreier, Gary Miller, Jerry Lewis, Dan Lungren, Campbell, Issa, Royce and Rohrabacher were among the 111 Republicans who voted against that.  These ads write themselves.

• CA-03: Bill Durston is up with two ads, as mentioned by akogun.  It’s unclear how big the buy is.  One is a bio spot, and the other hits Dan Lungren for his, er, unique travel plans.

• CA-04: A lot to report here.  While Tom McClintock is off putting together propaganda blogs attacking Charlie Brown, and of all things, this website, he ought to be paying attention to his campaign manager problem.

The camp of Democratic candidate Charlie Brown claims evidence shows state Sen. McClintock, a Republican, effectively is a substitute Doolittle, and in particular asserts that McClintock campaign manager John Feliz’s connections to Doolittle are significant.

“John Feliz is the architect of Doolittle’s first known political-practices transgression,” said Todd Stenhouse, Brown spokesman. “The bottom line is McClintock claims not to be John Doolittle, yet he’s using his former campaign manager, and he has the same treasurer (David Bauer).”

McClintock campaign spokesman Bill George said, “John Feliz hasn’t worked for Doolittle in 18 to 20 years.”

Note that he doesn’t respond to Bauer, who is still the treasurer for an active Doolittle campaign committee.

Meanwhile, Charlie Brown has endorsed the Pickens Pledge.  I am in complete agreement that the Pickens Plan for energy independence is just a scheme for a rich guy to get richer, but the pledge merely calls for an energy plan to be enacted in the first 100 days of the next Administration.  There is a difference.

• CA-50: Al Gore was in the district to raise money for Nick Leibham.  The Leibham campaign hopes this will kick-start their efforts, but the Cook Political Report recently downgraded the race to “Solid Republican.”  Their belief is that these Republican districts have been injected with momentum with Sarah Palin energizing conservatives to vote.  We’ll see.

• CA-46: One thing is clear: Dana Rohrabacher may allow insurance companies deny treatment to the mentally ill, and he may let the credit card companies fleece his constituents, but he draws the line at the Wall Street bailout.  That’s nothing new – lots of lawmakers are opposed to the bailout – but of course, the fact that Debbie Cook was first out of the gate with her opposition forced his hand, to be sure.  Meanwhile, Cook was feted with a “Truth To Power” at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil conference this week.  On Sunday, there’s a small dollar fundraiser for Cook in Palos Verdes.  Details and tickets at the ActBlue page here.  I will be in attendance Sunday, so please come out if you’re in the area.

• CA-42: Ed Chau has put together a video about polar bears, which obviously is the most important issue affecting constituents in Mission Viejo at risk of losing their homes.  Or the ethical issues of his opponent Gary Miller, one of the most corrupt lawmakers in Congress.

• SD-19: Hannah-Beth Jackson has a new ad out with some personal testimonials about her leadership on a chemical spill in her district when she was in the Assembly, and I have to say I like it.

• LA Board of Supes: Bernard Parks is using his office to try to evict supporters of Mark Ridley-Thomas.  Mayor Villaraigosa has stepped in on the side of the tenants.

On Tuesday, Villaraigosa was forced into the fray – reluctantly, his aides said – after Parks had the city send a 60-day eviction notice to Strategic Concepts of Organizing and Policy Education, a nonprofit focused on community organizing and job training.

Parks said SCOPE was using the old fire station at 1715 Florence Ave. in South Los Angeles to help the Ridley-Thomas campaign, which the group denies.

Campaign Update: CA-11, AD-80, SD-19, AD-15, AD-30, LA Board of Supes

Here’s what’s happening on the campaign trail.

• CA-11: Apparently trying to win some kind of award for the worst attack website in history, Jon Fleischman of the Flash Report (a terribly designed website in its own right) has put together One Term Is Enough, in all of its way-too-large masthead, ridiculously-spare with no action items or columns, design out of Quark X-Press glory.  Man, that’s ugly.  And I think the focus on Jerry McNerney’s earmarks, given the summer of scandal that Dean Andal has lived through which is entirely about a construction contract with a community college (if he was in Congress, that would be, basically, an earmark), is kind of silly.  Meanwhile, McNerney is up with his first ad of the cycle, focusing on his work on behalf of troops and veterans.

• AD-80: As soyinkafan noted, Manuel Perez and Gary Jeandron had a debate where Jeandron stated his support for a tax increase in Imperial County.  That’s not likely to help him with the conservative base, but clearly Jeandron understands that he has to move to left if he has any chance to win this seat.  The Palm Springs Desert Sun has a debate report here.

• SD-19: Tony Strickland’s latest endorsement is Erin Brockovich, of all people.  However, this could be less of a reach across the aisle as it appears.

Ventura County Star columnist Timm Herdt got Strickland’s Democratic opponent Hannah-Beth Jackson on the phone, who said she was “a little surprised” by Brockovich backing her opponent.

While Brockovich says she is a Democrat in the ad, she writes on her blog that she’s ready to leave the party and become an independent.

“I am ready to turn because both parties are acting foolish and judgmental and attacking,” she writes.

She also has kind words for GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

“I am proud to be a member of the same Strong Woman’s Club that Sarah Palin is in.” Brockovich writes.

• AD-15: As has been noted, Joan Buchanan released her first campaign ad of the cycle.  Her opponent Abram Wilson responded with his own ad, also biographical in nature, and his campaign has questioned the Buchanan spot and her commitment to fiscal responsibility.  I suppose signing a “no-tax” pledge is the height of responsibility, then.

• AD-30: We were all expecting it, and now Nicole Parra has officially endorsed Republican Danny Gilmore in the election to replace her.  This is a family fight moved into the political sphere – the Parra-Florez feud is well-known.  

Parra’s support of Danny Gilmore angered Democratic Party leaders, but comes as no surprise because she has been praising Gilmore for months.

“I will endorse Danny Gilmore in the near future and I will campaign for him and do commercials,” Parra said in an interview. Gilmore, a retired California Highway Patrol officer from Hanford, is running against Democrat Fran Florez, mother of state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, a longtime Parra rival.

• LA Board of Supes: Turns out that not only is Bernard Parks turning to Republicans to help him get elected over progressive State Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, but for ten years he was a member of the American Independent Party (!).

According to voter registration forms certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder:

Bernard Parks left the Democratic Party and registered as an American Independent on February 12, 1992 – just in time to miss the opportunity to vote for President Bill Clinton.

He registered again as an American Independent on August 9, 1996.

President George Bush was elected in November 2000 – but Parks still wouldn’t become a Democrat for nearly a year and a half.

Parks was fired as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department on April 9, 2002. Shortly thereafter, he began to prepare to run for Los Angeles City Council, and re-registered as a Democrat on May 30, 2002. Less than a year later, he was elected to the City Council.

That is very strange, especially for an African-American to sign up with a party which is the legacy of George Wallace.

Campaign Update: CA-04, CA-11, LA Board of Supes

I’m going to try and do these once a day.  No promises!

• CA-04: In partial response to the kerfuffle from yesterday’s deceitful attack ad, Charlie Brown released two radio spots and a TV ad today.  His wife Jan Brown narrates the TV spot, which foregrounds Charlie and his son’s military service. (Sorry, not embeddable)

The radio spots are both solid attacks on Venturian Candidate Tom McClintock.  Two men, two paths contrasts Brown’s service and leadership with McClintock’s life in politics, and his record on veterans (including donating 5% of his campaign funds) with McClintock’s (voting against veteran’s funding).  Vote is a humorous spot discussing how McClintock can’t vote for himself because he won’t move into the district.  There’s also a lot on McClintock’s per diem expenses from the State Senate.  “L.A. Tom” is the frame they’re going with, and they ask, “if he won’t vote for himself, why should we?”

• CA-11: State Senator Ellen Corbett and Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi sent a letter to women in Jerry McNerney’s district urging them to reject right-wing extremist Dean Andal.  His record on women’s issues is really retrograde.

To the Women of Congressional District 11:

If you are anything like us, you want a representative in Washington that not only reflects your values, but who also respects you.

Dean Andal just doesn’t qualify. In fact, Dean Andal’s record on women’s issues shows just how out of touch and extreme his views are.

In 1994, as a member of the State Assembly, Dean Andal opposed a common sense law that would have allowed women to wear pants in the workplace instead of being forced to wear skirts and dresses.

Andal also voted against requiring health insurance plans to cover cervical cancer screenings. He even voted against making sure that information about sexual harassment be included in mandatory workplace anti-discrimination posters.

Yet the most egregious affront to women he offered in his short term in the Assembly was his vote to restrict the definition of rape to exclude attacks where an incapacitated woman cannot resist.

And what’s worse, Andal’s was the only vote in the Assembly against expanding the definition. The only one.

Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, all women should be proud of the progress we have made. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t send someone like Dean Andal to Congress. Someone with a record like Andal’s can be counted on to turn back the clock on all we have achieved.

• LA Board of Supes: There’s a runoff in this seat between Councilman Bernard Parks and State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas.  While Ridley-Thomas is a solid progressive who understands the fundamental dysfunction of state government and will fight for progressive values on the powerful Board of Supes, Bernard Parks has hired Republican fixer Steve Kinney to help him win the race.  Parks, who has a business-friendly record on the City Council, is receiving help from BizFed, a PAC notorious for pushing the same agenda.  The wingnuts at the Lincoln Club have reportedly offered him support as well.  At least the choice is now clear to voters – one candidate on the side of the corporate vultures, the other on the side of the people.

• Misc.  I should note that Chris Bowers’ House race forecast is up, and among California races, he lists CA-04 as a tossup, CA-11 as Lean D, and CA-26 & CA-50 as Likely R.  I think he’s selling a couple races short, but that’s a pretty good conservative estimate.

Truth Now on Arnold’s Prop 11 Redistricting Plan to Turn CA Red

(I’m not a big fan of Prop 11.  lindasutton does a good job of explaining the beast. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

TRUTH NOW on Proposition 11…

… the fake redistricting reform brought to you by Gov. Schwarzenegger and his wrong-wing Republican gang

Want to live in a Red State? Want to have gridlock on redistricting in addition to the budget? Want to have the Republicans put in charge of “protecting” our coastline?

This is the reality of the so-called “Voters First” proposition being put on the ballot this year by Arnold and his Republican fat cat cronies. The only “voters” who are elevated will be the Republicans who are attempting to circumvent their declining registration statewide by fooling the voters into the idea that Prop 11 is “independent” and “non-partisan.” You’ve got to hand it to them. They come up with such good titles that mean exactly the opposite!!!

Under the guise of “reform,” proposition 11 creates a new state bureaucracy with an unlimited budget. This new drain on the state resources would essentially operate as a parallel second set of employees since a redistricting staff already exists in the state legislature. Along with the 14 member Citizens Redistricting Commission (paid $300 per day + expenses to attend a meeting), this new unlimited bureaucracy would include political staffers (civil-service exempt), private contractors, and private attorneys.

If this commission, stacked in the Republicans’ favor, does NOT reach agreement, and the rules ensure it will not, redistricting is handed to the California Supreme Court who appoints “special masters” to complete the boundary lines. NOTE that 6 of the 7 justices currently sitting on the court were appointed by Republican governors.

Few people can defend the bizarre configurations of our legislative districts that are currently under the direct control of our politicians. Often neighborhoods are split into “communities of interest,” and this is one of the arguments used in favor of this measure that will be on the ballot this November. But, the politicians ARE responsible for what they have done, and they CAN be held accountable by the voters. If Prop 11 passes, all accountability ends.

Proposition 11 sets up a convoluted maze to choose 14 commissioners. The restrictions on selection of applicants are such as to ensure their ignorance of the political process. Excluded are people who have been candidates for office within the last 10 years, or had a family member who was, anyone who has served on a political central committee, anyone who has been on a political staff or been a lobbyist, anyone contributing $2000 or more to a candidate, any staff people to elected officials or their relatives. Thus, the pool of applicants will be severely restricted to those who have the least possible experience dealing with the complex decisions they will be asked to make. Or, maybe not. Interestingly, politicos from the Republican institutes and think tanks are not excluded.

The maze begins with the State Auditor. You say, “Who?” Who, indeed. It’s not as though we’ve ever heard anything about this unelected state official. But now this unknown takes front and center stage and begins the Prop 11 process by choosing three so-called “independent” state auditors to oversee what follows. This is Step #1, in the multiple-step procedure laid out by this proposition.

For the record, the State Auditor is currently Elaine M. Howle. She is a POLITICAL appointee of the governor’s, selected from a list of three submitted to him by the state legislature. The State Auditor, however, is “accountable solely to the California Legislature” after appointment.

The next step (#2) proceeds by choosing from a pool of applicants 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans, plus 20 not in either major party. This formula bears NO relationship to the actual political party registration in the state which as of May 19, 2008  is 43.75% Democrat, 32.53% Republican, and 23.72% all others. The losers here are obviously the Democrats who have gained a substantial margin in registration and would now be required to forfeit that plurality.

Moving on to Step #3, the state party leaders (only Dems and Reps now) get veto power. The President pro Tempore of the Senate, the Minority floor leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Minority Floor Leader may EACH strike up to two applicants from each sub-pool of 20 for a total of eight possible strikes per sub-pool. So, the whittled down lists of possibly only 12 Dems+12 Reps+12 Others now go back to the State Auditor.

In Step #4, The State Auditor is to draw random names from the pool submitted by the previous step, and they become the first 8 on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. There are to be 3 from the largest political party (Dems), 3 from the second largest political party (Reps), and 2 from all others. Again, the LOSER on this cozy little split is the Democrats who AGAIN forfeit their significant voter registration plurality to…guess who???  The REPUBLICANS.

Now to Step #5, and if you’ve zoned out by now, well, that IS the point. But, please stay for the finale. The 8 from step #4 review the names in the remaining pool from which they had been drawn, supposedly randomly, and now themselves APPOINT 6 more. These are to be evenly split: 2 Dems/2 Reps/2 Others. Each one of these must then be approved by 5 votes of the existing 8 commissioners with a required 2 each from each major party and 1 other. And there you have it, the FOURTEEN who have made it through this convoluted sieve and are now charged, on paper, with redrawing the district lines after each decade’s census. And again, the losing party is scheduled to be the Democratic Party that holds the greatest voter registration in the state.

By now you’re probably wondering IF those 14 will even have the expertise to know where to begin! But, not to worry. At the end of the text of this ballot measure, glossed over in the ballot summary, we find the fine print detailing all the undisclosed new expenditures of this ill-conceived boondoggle, and you’re welcome to read it yourself: http://www.sos.ca.gov/election…

“The commission shall hire commission staff, legal counsel and consultants as needed.” These employees shall be EXEMPT from civil service requirements, which means they will be POLITICAL appointees. Civil service would have meant appointment under a general system based on merit ascertained by competitive examination (CA Constitution Article VII:  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.con… And, listen to this, ONLY ONE of those hired as legal counsel needs to have “extensive experience and expertise in implementation and enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act.”

There are NO LIMITS on number of staff, consultants, or legal counsel. There’s also no limit on the funding that the governor submits for this new bureaucracy created through Prop 11 OR for the “statewide outreach program” that is to be set up “to solicit broad public participation” —  public relations events.  Be assured, however, that there is planned fiscal oversight, from the GOVERNOR’S Department of Finance!!!

The greatest travesty is the gridlock built into the commission by a requirement of 9 votes to approve final maps. These votes must be evenly split between Democrats/Republicans/ and Others. Can anyone who has watched state government in recent years even imagine agreement? This is where the Republican-appointed State Supreme Court steps in to dictate the final maps.

If Proposition 11 passes, and it WILL if people do not read more than the title and blurb provided by the Secretary of State,  there will be a huge faucet of state funds funneled to private consultants and attorneys, overseen by political appointee staff and citizen commissioners paid $300+expenses per meeting, and Republicans will be in charge.

And this is being sold to voters as an improvement??? THIS is reform??? Certainly there will be the well-connected who will profit from this new bureaucracy, but it’s not going to be the average taxpayer who will again be stuck with the bill for this privatization of the redistricting process. And the Democrats, who have gained significantly in voter registration, again will be stymied by this seizure of power by the Republican elite.

We now move to the more interesting part — the financing of this interesting excursion into the redistricting wonderland. WHO would be funding this?

Turns out that anyone who wants to check into the FUNDERS of any of the propositions OR candidates can do so quite easily through our Secretary of State’s website. From the main page, click on “political reform” on the top bar, then find the link for http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/ part way down that page.

I’ve done this and you would not believe WHO is there!! How about New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the tune of $250,000! And there’s Boone Pickens, the Texas oil tycoon, for $100,000. And CEO’s and Chairs abound. I wonder if the shareholders of these companies know where the profits go. From Williams Sonoma –W. Howard Lester, $250,000; from Guess–Maurice Marciano $25,000; from Trust Company of the West–Robert Day $100,000; from Charles Schwab–$100,000; from the Gap–Donald Fisher $50,000; from PIMCO–William Powers $100,000; from Netflix founder Reed Hastings $147,307.01; from Rick Caruso, RE Development, $100,000; from the LA Chamber of Commerce, $32,500. Then there is the New Majority California PAC (more on this follows) with $175,000. Here’s where you check out the donor list:  http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/C…

And that’s just from under the first listed committee, California Voters First, #1299492, that is supporting the measure. They report $4,826,382.01 received for only the first 6 months of 2008. http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/C…

Additional donors, insurance companies, land developers, etc., are tucked away under what is called the New Majority California PAC (a major donor to Voters First) here:


Homebuilder William Lyon kicked in $8,000; the Irvine Company $8000; Bank of America PAC $5600; Heritage Development $8000; Robert Follman of RA Industries $8000; Robert Grimm of Strategic Financial $8000; Stephen Fry of Fry Steel $8000;  Yokohl Ranch $8000; Horowitz Management $8000. (David Horowitz, that is, who is also within Voters First with an additional $5000); Marion Knott Montapert $8000 (another multiple donor with an additional $2000 disclosed within Voters First too); William E. Simon $8000; Syd Liebovitch of Rodeo Realty $5000.

But for those research wonks you really want to go for it, please check out the New Majority California PAC EXPENDITURES here: http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/C…

This is where you find the actual FUNDING of petition gathering by Kimball Petition Management for Voters First (indeed), the Republican Governors Association donations, the contributions to Gov Scharzenegger’s committees, various Republican county parties, mailers for Bernard Parks (candidate for LA County supervisor), and $10,000 for KARL ROVE!!!

For those of you who have gotten this far, I have a challenge. Within the California Voters First PAC, Governor Schwarzenegger’s Dream Team is listed multiple times for both in-kind and monetary contributions…$280,000 here, $300,000 there…get the idea? Try to figure the total in millions and call his office to ask what each of these contributions represented. I’m curious and have simply run out of time. I also suspect many who were behind Arnold’s failed Prop 77 in 2005 are behind this new incarnation.

What I am certain of is that this proposition #11 is as “fair and balanced” as Fox News. This is yet another one of these “by the rich and for the rich” propositions being marketed by the high priced Republican propagandists to harried voters. Democrats living in the Red Zones are particularly vulnerable, since they are hoping this will benefit them. It won’t. It also only applies to STATE districts, and NOT to Congressional districts.

Expect the Republicans will be continuously pounding the airwaves with their lies using credible-looking endorsements from credible sounding “good government” organizations and people.

Don’t fall for it. Vote NO on PROP 11 and keep the politicians directly accountable for these critical decisions. As bad as some of them have been in the past, this certainly is not a viable alternative. The Republicans are attempting to circumvent their continuous losses in registration over the last Bush years. Don’t let them do it. VOTE NO ON PROP 11 and pass this around.

© 2008, Linda Sutton

Truth Now Productions


The Most Important Office You May Know Nothing About

Yesterday I spent some time at an often contentious debate in the race for the 2nd District of the LA County Board of Supervisors.  The two most high-profile candidates for the seat, State Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas and former LAPD Chief and current City Councilman Bernard Parks, squared off in a pretty lively debate which featured a lot of sniping and criticism.

Why the heated exchanges in a county Board of Supervisors race?  Why is a state Senator and a very highly recognized City Councilman running in this race?  Why is Sheila Kuehl planning to run for the Board of Supes when Zev Yaroslavsky’s term is up in the near future?

Because these are unbelievably powerful positions.

Los Angeles County has 10.3 million residents, over a quarter of the whole state.  The county covers 88 cities and multiple unincorporated areas.  Ridiculously enough, there are only five seats on the county Board, meaning that each Supervisor represents over two MILLION people, more than 15 states and the District of Columbia.  I have to assume that these are the biggest districts in terms of population anywhere in the country.  Right now, seats on the board are held by Gloria Molina, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich.  LA County is immense and rich in diversity, the most in the nation according to the last US Census.  Burke, Knabe and Antonovich’s seats are up for re-election this year, but a sitting Supervisor actually getting challenged in a race is a rare event indeed.  Before term limits (now 3 terms or 12 years), the seat was practically a lifetime position.  The winner of the Parks/Ridley-Thomas race in the 2nd District will yield only the third Supervisor to hold that seat since 1952.

Given all this, what exactly does the Board of Supervisors do?  Well, the Board is the largest public employer in the state of California, serving 102,000 employees, including control of the pension funds.  They also provide services for the entire county, managing county lockups, county hospitals and a host of social services.  It’s a mammoth job and I can’t for the life of me imagine why it still contains only a 5-member board other than the fact that it increases incumbency protection.  When these seats are contested, the dollar sums are outrageous.  Parks and Ridley-Thomas raised well over six figures in the first quarter of 2008, and labor is spending immense amounts in favor of the state Senator.

Using a political tool that sidesteps campaign financing limits, Los Angeles labor unions have raised an unprecedented $2.5 million to elect state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas to the county Board of Supervisors.

Before voters head to the polls in June, union officials say they will add an additional $1.5 million to the “independent expenditure committee” pot.

“It is a tribute to my colleagues and brothers and sisters in labor,” said Tyrone Freeman, the head of Service Employees International Union Local 6434, one of the contributors to the Alliance for a Stronger Community.

Obviously, an office with such sway over public employees and county service contracts will catch the eye of labor, and they’ve gone almost all in for Mark Ridley-Thomas.  Councilman Parks voted against creating a living wage zone around LAX-area hotels, and has a history of pro-business policies on the City Council.  In yesterday’s debate, he sidestepped the question by saying that the zone shouldn’t be confined to the LAX area, while Ridley-Thomas said outright that “a lving wage law is a tool to fight poverty” and any effort to extend it ought to be taken.

It’s a very interesting race.  Parks has the higher profile and the support of a lot of local leaders, including Yvonne Burke, who has held the seat for 16 years.  Ridley-Thomas has the support of the entire Democratic caucus of the State Senate (every single one of them is down on his endorsement list) and much of the Assembly.  Parks has Maxine Waters’ support, and Ridley-Thomas has Diane Watson’s (she ran against Burke for the seat 16 years ago and lost).  The district includes Mar Vista and Culver City all the way down to South LA and Watts, the majority of residents in the district actually have Spanish surnames, yet this is a major contest in the African-American political community.

And these two appear to really, really not like each other.  The first question in the debate was about gang violence and gang activity, and while Parks stressed youth development and afterschool programs, Ridley-Thomas slyly noted that “some would say that the Los Angeles Police Department acted as a gang during Rampart” (a reference to a major scandal that happened under Parks’ watch as police chief).  It went pretty much downhill from there, with Parks claiming that Ridley-Thomas applauded the closure of King-Drew Medical Center and made sweetheart deals with developers as a City Councilman; with Ridley-Thomas hitting Parks on all sorts of issues (health care, environment, labor) and saying “He will know what leadership looks like when it’s working,” and on and on.  There are differences between the candidates, particularly on issues like the living wage ordinance, but both are stressing economic development for their depressed district, investments in education and health care access, transportation issues (even congestion pricing).

The fierceness of the contest reflects the importance of the race, and the fact that they’re running for what amounts to a 12-year term.  It may not be a sexy seat for progressives to pay attention to, but it has an incredible amount of importance.