Category Archives: los angeles politics

A peek at early voting in L.A. with Kirsten Dunst

Jacob Soboroff from Why Tuesday? went with actress Kirsten Dunst to the Los Angeles County Registrars office, video camera in hand, and cast their ballots two weeks before election day.

As you can see from the video, the Registars office is already crazy busy with citizens eager to vote early. Is this an early sign that the polls will be jammed on election, that Los Angeles desperately needs more than one early voting location, or both?

The Why Tuesday? Foundation seeks solutions to increase voter participation by creating dialogue about  election systems currently in place and changes that could be made, in part by asking why we vote on Tuesday instead of, say, over the weekend. Read more about them here.

Speaking of, the LA County Registrar’s office is now open 7 days per week through election day, so you can vote over the weekend. And this Saturday, the California Obama staff will be holding an “early vote rally” at the Registrar’s office from 9am – 4pm. More info on the Facebook event page.

California voter registration deadline is Monday

Over a dozen businesses will be open late Monday to accept last minute voter registrations.

Over a dozen businesses will be open late on Monday to accept last minute voter registrations.

If you’d like to vote on whether or not gay marriage should be banned, if minors should be required to provide parental notification before an abortion, not to mention who should be our next President, you have until Monday to register.

Whether you’re on the fence about any of these issues, or don’t feel you have the time to register, there is little excuse not to with the numerous options available:

1. Print and mail out your voter registration form. Just make sure it’s postmarked my Monday!

2. You can also pick up a registration form from over a 1000 locations around Los Angeles, such as your local DMV, library, or post office. Post office? Heck, you could go in, fill it out there, then mail it right away assuring you’ll have it postmarked by the 20th! Continue reading

Bernard Parks accidentally registered with American Independent Party… twice.*

Parks registered twice with American Independent Party, but party’s chairman says 1/3rd of members may have have joined mistakenly.

Below are documents confirming that Bernard Parks did, indeed, register with the American Indepedent Party in both 1992 and 1996.

Bernard Parks, Jr., told me his father did this at the direction of the Registrars office, was clearly attempting to register only as an independent, and the elder Parks had never even heard of the American Independent Party until last Friday.

According to the 1992 voter registration form filled out by Parks, he checked off “American Independent Party” as his new affiliation, and noted he’d previously voted as a Democrat. On the form from 1996, Parks does check off “American Independent Party,” but below it writes in that he’d previously voted as “Independent.”*

Parks, Jr. says it would have “made no sense” for the elder Parks to join the AIP – his intent to become unaffilated during his run to become Chief of Police was because he believed the post should be non-partisan and serve all people.

The campaign for competitor for County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, isn’t taking full advantage of the situation, sending out an email dismissing these excuses and asking:

What motivated Bernard Parks to register in an extreme right-wing party and continue to be a member of that party for ten years? Only Parks knows the answer to that question.

If this was a mistake, it wouldn’t be the only time someone registered for the American Independent Party accidentally. Markham Robinson, they party’s chairman, told me that in a recent survey of registered members about 1/3rd said they weren’t aware of their affiliation. (Robinson also said he was unfamiliar with Bernard Parks name, but said he’d look and see if Parks may have been affiliated in any way).

Earlier this year Jennifer Siebel, then fiance of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, was found to have been a member, even thought she declares herself an independent. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Siebel “checked the American Independent box thinking that was what independent voters were supposed to do.”

Documents below. Complete email from the Ridley-Thomas campaign after the jump.

Bernard Parks voter registration forms, 1992 and 1996 (pdf).

*Correction: I’d originally had the years backwards regarding the contents of these documents.

Continue reading

Is a Ridley-Thomas supporter smearing Bernard Parks?

UPDATE (2:02pm): No sooner had I posted this than I received an email from the Ridley-Thomas campaign with a scan of voter registration records indicating that Parks had registered as a member of the American Independent Party, signed by Parks.

An email is making the rounds claiming the Bernard Parks was a member of the right wing American Independent party. While anonymously sourced, the individual who sent it to me says it came from someone “is very well connected to labor and the (Mark) Ridley-Thomas campaign.”

The email begins:

Why was Bernard Parks a member of an extreme right-wing party for ten years? Parks didn’t re-register as a Democrat until he was preparing to run for City Council. Bernard Parks has some serious explaining to do.

The email claims that “voter registration forms certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder” confirm Parks joined the American Independent party on February 12, 1992, and he reregistered on August 9, 1996, only registering as a Democrat on May 30, 2002, as he began to run for City Council.

This smelled like a lame smear attempt on the surface, so I contacted Bernard C. Parks, Jr. (the Councilman’s son) for a response. Their reply:

In 1992, Councilmember Parks was applying to become Chief of Police. Because it is a common belief that a city’s police department should be independent of politics, Councilmember Parks decided to register as an independent (not as a member of the Independent Party) but still voted consistently for the democratic ticket. Parks followed the instructions of the county registrar to qualify as an independent. His classification as an independent prohibited him from voting in bi-partisan primaries… but still allowed him to vote in general elections.

The campaign then goes on the offensive, adding:

This is the third Friday in a row that the Ridley-Thomas campaign has concocted a bogus story… all while floating in an ethical and criminal cesspool with his buddy, disgraced former SEIU President Tyrone Freeman. We would recommend that they begin interviewing attorneys for their impending meeting with the FBI as opposed to creating yet another charge that can easily be disproved.

The irony to all this is that earlier this summer Ridley-Thomas paid $2400 to have his name listed on a Republican flier praising Ronald Reagan.

Sarah Palin: Governor of San Francisco?

John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate, Alaska’s Sarah Palin, went from mayor of a town of 8,500 to governor of a state with 670,000.

Dallas Morning News blogger Colleen McCain Nelson tries to put this into perspective:

Her entire state has about as many people as Memphis, Tennessee, the country’s 17th-largest city.

So, 16 U.S. mayors — including Dallas’ very own Republican, Tom Leppert — have more constituents than Sarah Palin. Of course, she has her own mayoral pedigree, in Wasilla, Alaska, population 8,500.

To put it in California’s perspective, Alaska’s population of 670,000 is:

  • About the population of Bakersfield and Anaheim combined.
  • 1/6th the size of the City of Los Angeles (4,045,000), 1/2 the size of San Diego (1,336,000), and smaller than the cities of San Jose (989,000) or San Francisco (824,000).
  • Less than Los Angeles City Council Districts 4, 5, and 13 combined.
  • Approximately 1/3rd less than the number of Los Angeles residents who marched in the 2006 “Great American Boycott.”

Alas, maybe Eric Garcetti could have been on Obama’s shortlist along with Hillary…

Mayor V won’t be speaking at DNC

The Latino, Democratic Mayor of the second largest city in the United States won’t be addressing his fellow party members in any signifigant way at next week’s Democratic Convention.

Here’s some wild theories as to why:

a. California is expected to be an easy win for Obama in November, so better to fill the speaking slate with DNC faves from red and undecided states.

b. Mayor Villaraigosa was a national co-chair for Hilary Clinton’s presidential bid, and who wants to remember that?

c. The Democratic party is trying to keep a lid on the number of philanderers as its spokesmen. John Edwards will reportedly be nowhere near Denver. Bill Clinton will be… um… toplining the roster. Let me amend this to,  the Democratic party is trying to keep a limit on the number of philanderers as its spokesmen.

Attend “Government 101″ with LA Mayor V and Council Prez Eric G.

Learn how to make your city work for you at the Government 101 workshop being held tomorrow by LA City Council President Eric Garcetti.

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti will join Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in hosting Government 101, a workshop that trains local residents to access city resources and become effective advocates for their communities.  The morning training will include a tutorial on the City of Los Angeles’s legislative process and information on how residents can influence the process.

Ironically, the Mayor’s involvement in this citizen-empowerment workshop comes one day after CityWatch posted an editorial claiming Villaraigosa had declared himself “the decider:”

The desire to promote grass-roots democracy, and to respect the experience and creativity of those in the neighborhood council system, has taken a back seat to the mayor’s political needs.

Parks website no longer blatant Obama ripoff, but…

The Parks for Supervisor website appears to have gone through a major overhaul, so while it no longer looks like a complete ripoff of Barack Obama’s slick site, it looks, well, unprofessional. Take a peek and decide for yourself.

Apparently a whole new company, Creative Data, is now claiming copyright over the site:


All contents of the Parks for Supervisor Web Site are: Copyright 2008 by Creative Data and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.

The site is still using a background image that appears on Barack Obama’s official site. And Parks’ site is still using images hosted on the Obama server – take a peek at the icon next to Yvonne Burke’s name on the Park’s endorsement page. The image is pulled directly from this url:

Nitpicky? Perhaps. But Parks is running for one of the most powerful positions in perhaps the most influential county in the entire country. If he can’t control something as simple as his website, even when evidence of potential plagiarism is presented to him, should he have any role managing Los Angeles County?

…thanks to Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein for the heads up…

Obama to Mayor V: Don’t expect Federal help for L.A.

…or other cities, the Presidential nominee told Antonio Villaraigosa and a delegation of mayors from across the US on Saturday. Obama said that “current urban policy was obsolete and needed to be replaced by a model that focused on rational metropolitan growth rather than chiefly on inner-city crime and poverty.” From the New York Times.

Senator Barack Obama told the nation’s mayors on Saturday that current urban policy was obsolete and needed to be replaced by a model that focused on rational metropolitan growth rather than chiefly on inner-city crime and poverty…

“[We] need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. Because strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, and strong regions are essential for a strong America.”

The comments came during a speech in Miami at the US Conference of Mayors, where Bill Clinton also spoke, urging mayors to make their city greener. He touted his own Clinton Climate Initiative, “that launched a $5 billion project last year to retrofit buildings in 40 of the world’s largest cities, saving both energy and money.” [Miami Herald]  Los Angeles is the only California city participating in the project.

Clinton said if city leaders take advantage of loan programs to refit their buildings to make them more energy efficient, they could reduce their carbon footprint, create jobs and save money…

”I think if we do it right, it will be the major engine of growth and new jobs in America for at least a decade.”

Parks continues to rip off Obama, complains Ridley-Thomas outspent him

photo of Bernard Parks by Mike Shear,
all rights reserved, via Flickr

Since neither Mark Ridley-Thomas nor Bernard Parks received a majority of the votes for the LA County Supervisor’s at last week’s election (Parks: 39.54%, Ridley-Thomas: 45.77%), a run off vote will be held on next November’s ballot.

This is, of course, the same ballot that many anticipate record numbers will vote on with Barack Obama on the ticket. And both Park and Ridley-Thomas are proud Obama supporters, who will likely boast of this support as the election nears.

Whether voters’ perception of who supports Obama the most will make a difference, it does appear that Bernard Parks continues to have no problem having a website that was copied from Barack Obama’s. (previous coverage here and here.)

However, on the same website, Parks does bring up an interesting complaint about how Ridley-Thomas effectively beat him at last Tuesday’s polls:

The fact is; we were outspent by a six-to-one margin in an election that saw a 17% turnout. The opposition spent $97 for each vote it received. Put another way, they spent $5.5 million to receive 45% of 125,000 votes.

Thats right: $97 per vote! Continue reading