Between the Lines
Next Tuesday is election day: time to say “farewell” Parks
For the last month, I’ve been writing about the same subject. Contrary to what some are saying, I have done it before-just not very often. I’ve only done this four times (write five straight commentaries on the same subject) in the 20 years I’ve been writing this weekly commentary. But I’ve done it.
The past month has been a public discussion forum on the realities of compromised leadership, and the primary subject of that topic has been Los Angeles Councilman Bernard Parks. I generally don’t trip with politicians. I see them for who they really are … not for what they think they are.
Most think they’re some kind of celebrity. They, in reality, are public servants. They serve the people; the people don’t serve them. Some of them get it twisted and want to talk to their constituents crazy. I talk back to them crazy. Some of them try to cuss out their constituents. I cuss back. And some straight out try to front you off. Well, guess what? When they come crazy at me, they get fronted off. Sometimes, you have to remind folk what the deal is.
There is no one who is more celebrity elitist, will talk to you crazier, and try to front you off more than Bernard Parks. Everything I’ve written the past four weeks are grumblings from people in the community tired of his antics. After the second week, people were sending me dirt to write about.
Pictures and stuff. A few other people tried to dismiss it as a few labor leaders, a few fellow politicians, a few writers throwing a fit (I believe a “tantrum” was what it was actually referred to as), but as the campaign moved on, the cry got louder, and Louder, and LOUDER, it was real clear what the revolt was about. It was real clear that the people were tried of Bernard Parks. So next Tuesday, the people will finally have their chance to speak. I think I know what most will say. In fact, I’m sure what they’ll say. [They will say “farewell” Bernard Parks.]
Now y’all know this is a provocative column. Always has been. This commentary speaks truth to power, no matter what they think they are or who they think they are. Always has. Always will. But Bernard Parks is probably the biggest narcissist we’ve ever taken on. It’s always about him
It was about his “chiefdom.” It was about him getting revenge. Now, it’s about him (and his son) continuing to “get paid” more than anybody in the city workforce. He never intended to serve the people. It wasn’t the reason he ran for public office. He ran for office to get back at Mayor James Hahn for not reappointing him police chief. Many Black leaders co-signed that madness too. He needed to be on city council to springboard an illegitimate run for Mayor. Why? Not so he could win, but so he could cause Hahn to lose. Hahn wasn’t an enemy in our community. The Hahns never have been. Hahn had more Black staff than any mayor since Tom Bradley. The Black community had more access than we have with the mayor who replaced him who acts “blacker than black” but can’t seem to find anyone to work for him.
Yet, Bernard Parks, who was just an average chief, hated by the rank and file, and reviled by Black police officers (Parks fired more Black officers than his two predecessors combined), became the litmus test for Hahn’s commitment to the Black community. Hahn was kicked out, and Bernie had his revenge on Hahn. Since Parks has been councilman, he has still sought revenge on LAPD, and the residents of the 8th District have paid for it.
For eight years, Bernard Parks has been trying to undermine public safety strategy in the city and in our community. For the most part, it has worked. For eight years now, we have listened to Bernie Parks whine about the fallacies of LAPD’s three-day/12-hour work week that he opposed while he was chief and the union got approved despite his objections. Every year, the city has gotten safer under the 3/12 plan. Last year was the safest Los Angeles had been in 40 years. What is Bernard Parks talking about? Yet, we’re supposed to believe him, and not the declining crime statistics. That’s the narcissist in him.
Meanwhile, in his own district, a 30-year search for a serial rapist and killer, the Grim Sleeper, turns up right under Bernie Parks nose. The alleged killer probably figured nobody would ever find him, since the councilperson in that district wouldn’t cooperate with the police. Turns out, he’d been there all along, even during Bernie’s tenure as chief.
But Parks is quick to try to talk about who doesn’t know the community. Despite crime statistics being down all over the city hitting a 30-year low, the 8th District still had (has) the highest crime rates in L.A., even with a former cop, a former police chief as the councilman. Where is the benefit here? You’re right. There is none. Bernie Parks shows you who he is at every turn.
Two years ago when the new downtown police headquarters was about to be named by the city council, guess what name he put forward? That’s right … Chief Parker, the one who recruited southern officers and turned L.A. into the paramilitary force for which it became known from the 1950s through 1990s. Despite the horrid memories many in his community have about LAPD during that time period, Parks recommended Parker because he considered him a mentor. It was all about him, again. Damn the community’s feelings about it. I always thought Parks was a Gates cop, and he turned out to be worse … a Parker cop.
And instead of terming out, Parks (and the city council) extended his term limit. So this election is all about him, again, to fulfill a third term, double dip 48 more months, pay his son $13,000 a month for another 48 months and do nothing more than he did in the past eight years. Yeah, right.
I think we all know it’s time to say “farewell to this charade.” Time to say, “Free our district from narcissistic leadership.” It has to be about more than just the person in office (and his family). Time to say “forget this bullsh#t.” Time to say, “Forescee can do better than this.” Time to say “Farewell Parks.”
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the upcoming book, “Real Eyez: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture.” He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com.
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