Unlike in Chicago, dead people can't vote in Los Angeles elections. But they can make endorsements, judging from the latest mailer to hit the streets in the hotly contested campaign between L.A. Councilman Bernard Parks and challenger Forescee Hogan-Rowles.
The mailer, from the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, touts a long list of Parks supporters. The first sign of trouble is the first name on the list: "Honorary Co-Chair" Ethel Bradley. Bradley, the widow of former Mayor Tom Bradley, died in 2008. But wait, there's more.
Update below: Political consultant takes responsibility for the error.
Also endorsing Parks: Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (who died in 2007), Ameriquest owner Roland Arnall (died 2008), developer Nathan Shapell (died 2007), Ray Charles (died 2004), TV producer Aaron Spelling (died 2006), developer Doug Ring (died 2009), retired insurance executive Leroy A. Beavers, Jr. (died 2010), entrepreneur Michael Stennis (died 2003), former LAPD commander Homer Broome (died 2007), and civil rights activist Ida B. Kinney (died 2009, at the age of 104).
Whoops. But perhaps most embarrassingly, the mailer misspells the name of one of Parks' most ardent living supporters: Laker legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Johnson appears on the front of the mailer, but on the back his name is spelled "Ervin."
Going by the titles in front of the endorsers' names, the list appears to date from 2003. That's when Parks first ran for council, so this could be a list of supporters from Parks' first campaign. (The Chamber has yet to respond to a request for clarification. *Update below.)
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It includes several folks who are now bitter enemies of Parks, including Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (who is identified as an Assemblyman, a title he held from 2002-2006), ousted SEIU leader Tyrone Freeman, and the L.A. County Federation of Labor (which has led an $800,000 independent campaign to get rid of Parks).
Since the mailer is an independent expenditure, Parks can't be blamed for these mistakes. But the Chamber sure can.
Update, 3:15 p.m.: Ruben Gonzalez, a partner with the public affairs firm of Englander, Knabe and Allen, falls on his sword:
"Unfortunately, an independent mail piece we produced in support of Councilmember Parks mistakenly included an outdated list of endorsements from an earlier campaign. I take full responsibility. I apologize to those whose names were listed in error as well as to the L.A. Jobs PAC for the mistake."