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.