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LAS: In his mailouts, Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas has accused you of being the closet thing to a Republican
Parks: I am a life long voting Democrat!! I was a elected as a delegate representing the Democratic Party, for the last two Democratic Conventions voting for John Kerry's-2004 and Barack Obama's-2008 nomination as the President of the United States. In my campaigning for Supervisor I have attempted to attract voters and gain support from every culture, every community and each political party that is represented in the Second District-Democrats, Independents, Green and Republicans Party members. I think this is the only way to be successful in running for this non-partisan office. I am also endorsed by the local foundation and face of the Democratic Party- Maxine Waters, Yvonne Burke, Gloria Molina, Laura Richardson and a majority of the Los Angeles City Council. What is so dishonest about Mark's claim is that I have documented evidence that Mark personally paid several thousand dollars for an ad on a Republican Slate Mailer which portrayed him as a member of the "Ronald Regan Revolution" which asked voters to vote for John McCain against Barack Obama and also supported statewide elimination of rent control. The question for the voters is can you trust Mark Ridley-Thomas who is attempting to deceive them by telling Democratic voters he is endorsed by the Democratic Party and supports Barack Obama and the Republican voters he is a member of the "Regan Revolution" and supports John McCain????
LAS: Ridley-Thomas claims that the district attorney reprimanded you in the wake of the Rampart scandal, is he correct?
Parks: This is not true! The District Attorney of Los Angeles County has no authority to reprimand the Chief of Police of Los Angeles. Most of the public is aware that after just six months in office as the Chief of Police I started the investigation that discovered the Rampart Corruption. Through that investigation I identified the officers that were violating the community's civil rights, planting evidence and guns, stealing and selling narcotics, committing perjury in court testimony. I supported the arrest and prosecution of such corrupt officers as Rafael Perez, Nino Durden and many others and fired or disciplined every corrupt officer identified in the Rampart Scandal. During my 5-year tenure as the Chief of Police I fired over 140 corrupt, dishonest and abusive officers.
Mark Ridley-Thomas is aware that all claims made by officers, the community and the district attorney about my performance as the Chief of Police during and after the Rampart Scandal were investigated by the Los Angeles Police Commission and determined to be without merit and I was found not guilty of all mis-conduct allegations. Finally, when I decided to seek a second term as Chief of Police and to run for the Los Angeles City Council Mark Ridley-Thomas strongly endorsed me well after the Rampart Scandal. The question for the voters is which Mark Ridley-Thomas is being truthful -The one that is falsely attacking me today or the one that strongly endorsed me in the past????
LAS: Did you refuse to cooperate with the district attorney while his office was investigating the Rampart scandal?
Parks: NO! I never refused to cooperate with the district attorney's office during the Rampart Scandal. Most of the public is aware that I invited the District Attorney, U.S. Attorney, F.B.I and the California State Attorney General's Offices into the Rampart Investigation. I was the one individual that publicly and routinely demanded the prosecution of these corrupt officers. I also, published a 400 page document called the Board of Inquiry Report, which outlined all of the relevant issues surrounding this case. This document was later turned into the current Consent Decree as a guide to reform the L.A.P.D. As, I stated in answer #2 Mark Ridley-Thomas knows the truth that the Police Commission investigated and cleared me of all allegations of mis-conduct. The question remains for the voters which Mark Ridley-Thomas can you trust the one today that is intentionally attempting to mislead or the one commended me in the past for my performance as the Chief of Police????
LAS: Tell us what makes you the better candidate for the supervisor's job?
Parks: I believe that I am the best candidate because of the following traits:
a) integrity and honesty, b) independence, c) experience, d) inclusive and solutions oriented, f) accomplishments g) substantive answers to second district problems.
I see the world differently than Mark Ridley-Thomas. I view the diversity in our communities as our strengths not something to be feared. I think the different cultures, languages, interests; thoughts and approaches make us a better and stronger community. I do not think you can be a successful elected representative if you view the community as friend v. foe, wealthy v. poverty, unions v. non-union, landlord v. tenant, one ethnicity v. another or make decisions based on partisan views.
The true test of all elected public servants is their consistent level of integrity and honesty in all their actions and public statements. I have kept that bar high in both my personal and over 40 years of public life. Contrary to my opponent that is currently involved in both a federal and local investigation regarding the illegal use of union funds in his campaign.
I have attempted to solve community issues in a balanced, independent and objective manner, taking an inclusive and solution oriented approach listening to all sides and always attempting to provide the best solution for all that are involved. Contrary, my opponent seeks to find and support a special interest, partisan and particularly a self interest solution. It is my belief that the only real special interest is the community and its members that I represent.
My experience and accomplishments span 40 years of public service. I have worked throughout the City of Los Angeles and many of its surrounding communities. I rose through the ranks of the L.A.P.D. in which I worked almost every assignment in the department. I am now a city councilmember for the last 6 years with legislative experience in fiscal, planning, public safety, transportation, technology, personnel matters. I have also devoted much of my time working on regional and national issues as a board/committee member of the MTA, SCAG and the National League of Cities. This exposure along with my administrative experience of running a 13,000 person police department with a $1.5 billion budget and chairing the city council's $7 billion budget committee places me significantly above the experience level of any candidate that is in this election.
I have worked diligently in studying the problems of the second district and the overall county. I have discussed with experts and community members alike to create solutions and position papers for fiscal, transportation, public safety and public health policies. These in-depth analysis can be located on my web-site parksforsupervisor.com
Contrary to my opponent who has spent 17 years hopping from elected office to elected office with minimal to no experience on operational, administrative or fiscal issues. The question for voters can you trust Mark Ridley-Thomas to represent you when his past experience is so minimal regarding such important issues in the community????
LAS: The unions are supporting Ridley-Thomas in a big way, is there a problem between you and the unions?
Parks: I have been a dues paying union member for most of my adult working life. I believe in unions and certainly have benefited greatly from their efforts in working conditions, wages and benefits but there are times in which union leadership take positions which are contrary to the community I serve. There are times union leadership take positions that are not in the best interest of its membership. There are time when after an independent analysis it requires you to say no to union leadership for the best interest of all concerned. This independence has often put me at odds with union leadership. I have always had a great relationship with the rank and file personnel within government jobs but I have drawn the line when union members abuse their authority and misuse the public they serve. I hold each and every person/employee accountable for their actions just as I hold myself accountable. I fired over 140 sworn officers who were dishonest, abusive and corrupt during my 5 year tenure as chief of police. Most of these firing were disputed by union leadership but not by the community. I have challenged the union leadership in their refusal to assist the South Los Angeles Community in obtaining and maintaining grocery stores in the most underserved community in the county. I have challenged union leadership when they have attempted to created regulations or fail to recognize a negative impact on the job market or potential employees in general and more specifically the South Los Angeles Community. This in the independence that is needed in the Second District, someone who will speak out wherever there is injustice not just when it is convenient or self serving. Contrary my opponent did not speak out to stop the closer of MLK Hospital, in fact he applauded the closer of the trauma center, he did not speak out when the New Yorker Magazine portrayed the Obama family as terrorist, he did not speak out when the State Legislature took $130 million from the Los Angeles County's Health Care budget, he did not speak out when his friend Union Leader Tyrone Freeman, illegally took millions of dollars from the checks of $9.00 an hour homecare workers and used it illegally and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Mark Ridley-Thomas' campaign. My independent is not for sell to the union leaders or any special interest groups. The question for voters can you support an elected official who is beholden to special interest and will not speak out for you????