What's in a name? Today's L.A. Times carries an item about L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks' nostalgic quest to have the new, schmantzy LAPD HQ named Parker Center. You know – as in “Parker Center” that has been the name of the current police headquarters since 1966. Which is named for the same crazy, alcoholic chief who'd once described our fair city as being “not far removed from the wild tribes of Mexico.” Whose philosophy of policing black neighborhoods probably did as much to trigger the Watts riots as unemployment and substandard housing. That Chief William H. Parker. (See Jasmyne Cannick's blog for more info.)
Parks' nutty suggestion has naturally sent tongues wagging, eyes rolling, fingers pointing, etc. In the interests of promoting peace and unity among the tribes of L.A., we also support retaining the Parker Center brand — but naming the headquarters for some other Parker. We list some alternate inspirations below.
- Parker Brothers Center. Eases lingering civilian dread about the LAPD by giving the new HQ a sense of play and gamesmanship. Naming rights by the board-game maker of “Monopoly” would also bring in cost-saving corporate sponsorship.
- Charlie Parker Center. Lends an African American vibe to the building while atoning for the jazz great's arrest by the LAPD in 1946.
- Wes Parker Center. Keeps whites happy while tapping into good feelings about the Dodgers and the 1970s.
- Dorothy Parker Center. Celebrates the unhappy years spent in L.A. by the Algonquin Round Table wit, while lending a feminist cachet. Parker's aphorisms could be displayed daily on an LED board above the HQ's entrance.
- Fess Parker Center. The actor's name would please traditionalists enamored with white male heroes who carry guns, while at the same time Parker's Daniel Boone credits would promote an adventurous spirit that might also translate into a Walt Disney corporate sponsorship.
- Peter Parker Center. Named for Spiderman's civilian alter ego, this would appeal to comic-book buffs and might win movie tie-in money when series is remade. Also announces a belief in strong citizen-lawman values.