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No surprise: Los Angeles police union backs Bernard Parks' opponent

The union representing some 9,900 rank-and-file Los Angeles police officers has endorsed Forescee Hogan-Rowles in her bid to unseat City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, the former police chief who is running for his third term representing the 8th District in South Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League’s backing of Hogan-Rowles, who runs a nonprofit group in South L.A., reflects the contentious history between the union and Parks, who served one five-year term as chief before he was ousted in 2002 by then-Mayor James K. Hahn's civilian police commission.

The commission's decision not to reappoint Parks to a second term followed an intensive campaign against him by the police union. Parks, a 38-year veteran of the department, had clashed with the union repeatedly, particularly over his approach to discipline, which many rank-and-file officers viewed as too punitive. In a union poll at the time Parks was up for reappointment, 93% of union members surveyed said they had no confidence in Parks. The union’s board of directors described Parks in a 2002 statement as “a failure.”

Parks’ campaign spokesman said the union was still “holding a grudge from his tenure at LAPD, where he fired 140 problem police officers.” The union also opposed Parks when he ran for mayor in 2005 and for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2008.

During his tenure on the council, Parks has continued to be at odds with the union over contract negotiations, some hiring decisions and schedules in which officers work three 12-hour shifts a week.

When the group offered him an interview, the councilman said, “We laughed and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ ”

“They didn’t support me when I was the chief; they didn’t support me when I ran for council, so there’s no expectation that they’re going to be there,” Parks said. “The union board is not a force in South Los Angeles. They don’t look like South Los Angeles; they don’t represent them."

He added that he did not request the group’s endorsement and would “not have accepted it.”

Hogan-Rowles said that in her meeting with the union, she had expressed her “willingness to be open and listen” to officers' concerns. She said the nonprofit group she heads, Community Financial Resource Center, has allowed the department to use its site as a staging area over the last few years when events were held at the Sports Arena and the Coliseum.

She said she also stressed to the union that she would work to keep the retirement benefits for LAPD officers intact -- noting that she had shown her commitment to protecting benefits for Department of Water and Power employees during her tenure on the utility's board.

Parks, the council’s budget chairman, has repeatedly expressed concern that police and fire pensions and benefits are consuming an increasing share of the city’s budget each year. The city is facing a shortfall of $350 million next year.

During her work on the DWP board, Hogan-Rowles said, “I never went after the retirement pensions as a way to try to balance the budget. When people work and invest all those years and that time, they deserve a respectable retirement with dignity.”

Parks fired back that pension and medical benefit costs now consume one-fourth of the city’s budget, and at the DWP “40 cents of every dollar [of the operating budget] now pays for pensions," which he believes led to the DWP rate increases while Hogan-Rowles was on the board.

“If it’s not sustainable, at some point in time, something is going to collapse,” he said. 

The league’s leaders were not immediately available for comment on their decision Thursday, but one source familiar with the deliberations said the group voted to support Hogan-Rowles by a wide margin.


Voter guide: March 8 Los Angeles Election

-- Maeve Reston

Comments () | Archives (6)

I'm sorry...how much is Parks making in retirement, pension, and City Council pay a year???? Parks don't bite the hand that feeds you and practice what you preach.

By the way just because the community LOOKS like you doesn't mean you are one of them.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League is the same organization that awarded Los Angeles Dodger co-owner Frank McCourt its "In the Line of Duty -- Legacy Award" which recognizes individuals who have had a major impact on the community and established remarkable legacies. Their endorsement of Forescee Hogan-Rowles will probably cost her votes.

Parks has his chief's pension from LAPD and his councilman's salary. He lives very well on that. The chief's pension alone is over 200 grand a year.

Funny parks should even talk. During the Rampart scandal it was brought to his attention, that possibly two of his officers were responsible for a heinous crime and yet, what does he do? he throws the investigating officer off the case.

Does it suprise you, out of the 100 or so officers who were fired during the rampart scandal, which was under parks command, almost all of them have their jobs back. There are two who chose not co come back, and ultimately this bad cops were pretty much limited to the two who initiated all the problems. Watch LAPD Blues on PBS, parks is on their.

Ultimately the 4 officers who were prosecuted and acquitted were give almost 20 million dollars from false arrest by the city of LA.

The times is partially to blame, as all the attention that went into the scandal by the times, media hype etc. When the end came, it was a few officers, not the hundreds they thought and when the 4 officers were awarded the money, there was no media blitz about LAPD over reacted and newspaper clippings. Their was a little paragrpah in the back of one of the sections.

Parks said. “The union board is not a force in South Los Angeles. They don’t look like South Los Angeles; they don’t represent them." Mr. Parks could you please tell me exactly what that means. Sounds really racist to me.

By-the-way for those who do not know, Mr. Parks pulls in about $500,000 a year from his pensions and Council pay, not including sluch funds. He's pension would be unaffected if the police and fire pensions got cut. So, what would he care. Heck if I made 1/3 that much, my creditors would be hailing me as a hero!!

Parks is a total hypocrite.

He gets a pension worth $275,000 per year, while still taking over $175,000 per year.

It seems as if he's saying, I got mine, screw everyone else.

The minute he starts talking about cutting his own pension is when I'll listen. Until then, he's just like the rest of Republicans trying to ask for sacrifice and cuts from everyone, except themselves.


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