Update: Bernard Parks' camp responds, says he had no role whatsoever in the mailer.
After the Weekly broke the news that several dead people were listed in a mailer endorsing the re-election of L.A. city Councilman Bernard Parks, a rally took place in Baldwin Hills this afternoon to “talk truth” about the candidate. [Added: The mailer was paid for independently by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce].
One of those people listed on the mailer, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, is still very much alive. He has become an opponent of Parks,' too.
He was helping to organize the event that we're told will feature letters in opposition to Parks from some of the surviving relatives of those deceased endorsers.
The party started at 1:30 p.m. in the 4000 block of Buckingham Road in Baldwin Hills (not far, it seems, from Parks' home).
“It is shameful and unconscionable for Bernard Parks to deliver tens of thousands of campaign mailers to 8th Council District voters falsely claiming endorsements from more than 30 prominent and revered Los Angeles political figures and civic leaders that have passed away,” Ridley-Thomas said.
“Bernard Parks besmirches the dead,” he said. “He tarnishes the memories of revered
individuals for his own political gain. True to Parks' questionable character, he is not apologetic about his disrespectful and deceitful act.”
State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, former L.A. school board president Genethia Hayes and Rev. Norman Johnson, former executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, were said to be in attendance.
Parks is being challenged in next week's election by Forescee Hogan-Rowles.
Such a run would normally be a long shot, but she has been backed by powerful city unions, including the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
Parks ran unsuccessfully for Ridley-Thomas' South L.A. supervisorial seat in 2008.
The mailer, by the way, was produced independently of Parks' campaign. A lobby/P.R. hand took responsibility for putting a several-years'-old list of Parks endorsers on the flier.
We left a message with Parks' spokesman to see if his campaign had any response to this event.
Update: Bernard Parks Jr., spokesman for the Parks campaign, said his dad can't apologize because he had nothing to do with the mailer. In fact, he suggested it was possible that foes were behind the campaign literature.
“I can't even say for sure if it was done to harm us intentionally,” he said. “We can't say for sure if this is an attempt to sabotage this campaign. We can't say for sure that there's no union involvement in this independent expenditure.”
He noted that campaign involvement in independent expenditures is in fact illegal.
“We had no role in this.”
First posted at 1:07 p.m.