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Ridley-Thomas backs opponent of Parks in South Los Angeles contest, rekindling an old feud

February 13, 2011 |  7:11 pm

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas threw his support behind Los Angeles City Council candidate Forescee Hogan-Rowles at a late afternoon fundraiser in Hancock Park Sunday, calling her “very capable,” “very well-regarded” with strong credentials to lead the 8th District. 

Ridley-Thomas’s backing of Hogan-Rowles, who is attempting to unseat Councilman Bernard C. Parks in his South Los Angeles district, is all but certain to add heat to an already scorching feud between Parks and Ridley-Thomas.

The two men waged a bitter battle for the 2nd District seat on the Board of Supervisors in 2008. Ridley-Thomas won by double digits, aided by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which spent an unprecedented $8.5 million to help his effort. Hogan-Rowles shares some of the same allies. The labor federation has spent more than $81,000 so far in independent expenditures on her behalf. 

“It is time, after a long time of eight years of people registering serious displeasure and discontent,” Ridley-Thomas said, “that we do the positive thing, the forward-looking thing, the right thing and to call someone to represent that district who has a feel for that district, who has the heart of that district, who identifies with the constituents of that district, in contrast to one who positions himself otherwise.” 

The Supervisor alluded to the contentious debate between Hogan-Rowles and Parks Saturday in Park Mesa Heights, where Parks took several jabs at Ridley-Thomas, who represented the 8th District before Parks, during the forum.

“Somebody said he lost his mind yesterday and forgot who was on the ballot — thought I was on the ballot again,” Ridley-Thomas told guests who mingled at the home of Areva and Ernest Martin Sunday. “Somebody likened it to post-traumatic stress syndrome, battle fatigue. We’ve done that. You’ve got to deal with this candidate.” 

Ridley Thomas said he intended to highlight Hogan-Rowles’s strengths at Sunday's kickoff, but he made it clear he would play an integral role in the effort to take down Parks before the March 8 election: “I’ll spend some other time doing the other work as it is required,” he said to laughter. “And you can believe that will happen.”

He took some of his own jabs at Parks, however, before giving up the microphone — echoing Hogan-Rowles’s line of attack in Saturday’s debate that Parks had “double-dipped” by taking his annual pension of $265,000 from his years as the city’s police chief as well as his council salary of $178,789.

“I’m going to talk about double-dippers all the way now until March 8,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Hogan-Rowles, who heads a nonprofit financial-services firm based in South Los Angeles, said she had been “blessed by the mentorship of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas” but joked that he’d been a demanding advisor.

“I believe that the reason he pushes us so hard is that he wants us to be the very best candidate that we can be,” said Hogan-Rowles, who said Ridley-Thomas had helped her raise money for her campaign. “Trust me, he tells me what you need to know whether you want to know it or not.”

Former Rep. Diane Watson, who said she has known Hogan-Rowles for years, also attended the event, but said she was lending her support to both Parks and Hogan-Rowles.

“There’s much to be done,” Watson said. “May the best person win.” 


Voter guide: March 8 Los Angeles Election

South L.A. council candidates face off in debate

L.A. County labor federation endorses little-known challenger to Parks

-- Maeve Reston