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Zev Yaroslavsky praises Bernard Parks as a 'lone wolf' trying to keep L.A. solvent

March 2, 2011 |  3:59 pm

As public employee unions neared the $1 million mark in their effort to defeat City Councilman Bernard Parks, Los Angeles County Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky and former supervisor Yvonne Burke urged 8th District voters to discount the flood of independent expenditures on behalf of one of his opponents in the March 8 election.  

At a rally Wednesday outside Parks’ Crenshaw Boulevard headquarters in Leimert Park, Molina praised the two-term councilman for “fiercely” fighting for transportation dollars for South Los Angeles while he served with her on the county’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority board.

“What’s wrong with the city is that every weak-kneed politician is bending over backwards for special interests,” Molina said. “What we’ve had in Bernard Parks is courageous leadership all the way through. …The only special interests he is responsible to are the constituents in his district.”

As budget chairman, Parks has drawn fire from some labor unions by arguing that the pension and benefits offered to employees have been too generous, jeopardizing the city’s ability to pay its bills. Yaroslavsky said the unions have pumped money into defeating Parks’ re-election bid because “he does stand up to them.”

“Bernard has had a long vision, a grand vision, of how to keep the city of Los Angeles solvent,” said Yaroslavsky, who lives in Los Angeles and said he was speaking as a taxpayer. “If the city would listen to Bernard, we wouldn’t have potholes on every street in this city. ... We wouldn’t be half a billion dollars in the hole if they'd listened to Bernard. And they’re going to come around to Bernard -- not because they want to, but because they have to because he's right.”

Yaroslavsky added that Parks has sometimes been “a lone wolf” trying “to get the city to live within its means.”  

But one of the councilman’s opponents, Forescee Hogan-Rowles, who heads a nonprofit in Los Angeles and has won the endorsement of county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, said Parks’ go-it-alone approach has harmed his South L.A. constituents and contributed to dilapidation along the district’s commercial corridors. She has been the beneficiary of the labor spending before Tuesday’s election.

Bernard Parks is “not saving anything in that role," Hogan-Rowles said. "In fact he’s disconnected himself from people and doesn’t have the relationships to get things done because he’d decided to work by himself, which is not how politics works.”

-- Maeve Reston


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