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.
*Correction: I’d originally had the years backwards regarding the contents of these documents.
*** COMPLETE TEXT OF EMAIL FROM FRED MCFARLANE, MEDIA CONSULTANT, MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS FOR SUPERVISOR***
Why was Bernard C. Parks a member of an extreme right-wing political party for 10-years?
Parks left the Democratic Party in 1992 and didn’t re-register as a Democrat until he was preparing to run for L.A. City Council.
Bernard Parks has some serious explaining to do.
Although he’s been trying real hard to associate himself with Democrats since he became a candidate for elected office, it turns out that Bernard Parks was a registered member of the American Independent Party for the ten years prior to his running for City Council.
Yes, THAT American Independent Party – the party of Alabama Governor George Wallace, Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, and infamous John Birch Society leader John Schmitz.
And yes, that George Wallace, who pledged: “I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
You know – the guy who refused to implement President John F. Kennedy’s integration order, called in the National Guard and personally blocked the entry of two African-American students at the front doors of the University of Alabama.
Even today the American Independent Party has a radical right wing agenda – further to the right than that of the Republican Party platform.
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.
It’s clear why Parks re-registered as a Democrat before running for office. 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.
The more we learn about Bernard Parks, the clearer it becomes: Bernard Parks is not who we thought he was.