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L.A. City Elections: Parks declares victory, but Hogan-Rowles will not concede

March 9, 2011 |  3:50 am

Bernard C. Parks and his supporters cheer his reelection early Wednesday morning in Leimert Park.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks declared victory early Wednesday after results showed him narrowly avoiding a runoff by less than 1 percentage point in unofficial tallies. But his chief opponent, Forescee Hogan-Rowles, said she would not concede and would wait until all the provisional and remaining absentee ballots were counted.

Parks, the former city police chief who was heavily opposed by organized labor, had to win more than 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary to declare outright victory. With all 95 precincts in his South Los Angeles district reporting, he led with 50.89% of the vote, followed by Hogan-Rowles with 43.99% and Jabari Jumaane with 5.11%.

But Hogan-Rowles' campaign consultant, Steve Barkan, said he believed that there were still between 1,800 and 3,000 provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots to be counted. Hogan-Rowles, who runs a nonprofit in South Los Angeles, said she expected further information from the City Clerk on Wednesday.

"While the results of the election are inconclusive as of tonight, I’m proud that we’ve got Bernard Parks on the ropes," Hogan-Rowles said in a statement sent at 2:30 am. "Given the trends we saw as the results came in tonight, we are in a position to force a runoff."

Parks declared victory an hour earlier at his election night party in Leimert Park after a long and nerve-wracking night for his campaign.

"I think we have some good news: four more years to serve you, we look forward to it," Parks told supporters who gathered on the dance floor in the Regency West venue in Leimert Park. He raised his hands in a victory cheer as "Eye of the Tiger" pumped over the loudspeakers.

Over the past few months, public employee unions spent at least $1.2 million to defeat Parks and marshaled operatives on Hogan-Rowles' behalf. Parks became the central target of public employee unions after repeatedly arguing that their pensions were too generous and calling for layoffs and furloughs to solve a $404-million budget shortfall.

"Today we said the 8th District is not for sale," Parks said as he declared his win Tuesday night. "Starting tomorrow, we’re back to work."

The campaign had called a 5 a.m. press conference to discuss the results, but it was abruptly canceled. Parks' son said the event would have conflicted with his official duties.


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-- Maeve Reston

Photo: Bernard C. Parks and his supporters cheer his reelection early Wednesday morning in Leimert Park. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times