Councilwoman Jan Perry called out the leader of IBEW Local 18 today, saying that a union-backed campaign against Bernard Parks is nothing more than a "massive, ridiculous tantrum."
Two union groups have so far spent
$192,000 $207,000* to defeat Parks in the city election on March 8. The L.A. County Federation of Labor and Working Californians have a long list of grievances against the pro-business councilman, and are supporting challenger Forescee Hogan-Rowles.
Speaking today at the L.A. Current Affairs Forum, Perry argued that Brian D'Arcy, the business manager of IBEW Local 18, is waging a personal vendetta against her council ally.
*Another $15,000 since lunch.
"This all goes back to Brian basically not getting his way and he's acting out," she said. "It's a massive, ridiculous tantrum."
Perry said she had heard labor leaders acknowledge that Hogan-Rowles doesn't have much of a chance against the well-known incumbent.
They say, 'Oh yes, he'll win. We're just trying to teach him a lesson,'" she said. 'It's a candidate that they themselves don't believe to be extremely viable."
Perry lamented D'Arcy's tactics, which she said reminded her of those of organized crime back in Cleveland, where she grew up.
"I'm a little tired of people being intimidated," she said. "I don't take well to that kind of behavior. It needs to stop."
Parks and Perry are two of the most business-friendly members of the council, and they often vote together.
Labor groups spent more than $8 million to defeat Parks in the Second District Board of Supervisors race in 2008.
IBEW Local 18, which represents workers at the Department of Water and Power, objected strongly last year to Parks' plan for the council to take greater control of DWP pension benefits.
Asked to respond, D'Arcy issued a statement that hits all the Hogan-Rowles talking points:
"We want to let voters know that Forescee Hogan-Rowles understands what it takes to get people working again. As CEO of a local financial institution, Forescee has helped small businesses succeed by providing loans where big banks wouldn't, so local entrepreneurs could grow and create jobs. Forescee Hogan-Rowles has been a trailblazer in breaking down barriers and expanding opportunity for our community."
Parks has far outraised Hogan-Rowles. She reported bringing in only $17,000 last year, and is not well known in the district.
But she has much greater independent support than Parks does. The union groups have put out half a dozen mailers and bought radio and TV time to introduce Hogan-Rowles to voters. The literature touts her as a small businesswoman who has helped entrepreneurs through her job as CEO of Community Financial Resource Center.
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Though the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles has vowed to launch an independent campaign for Parks, so far only $615 of independent money has been spent on his behalf.
Lamar Advertising spent $500 for a billboard and the L.A. Clean Sweep committee spent $115.39 for a door hanger.
Update: Here's a TV spot that Working Californians just put up on YouTube. Very soft-focus and uplifting. Presumably the nasty stuff is coming later: