Bernard Parks wins third term seat for 8th District
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks officially won a third term today, with the City Clerk's Office releasing a final tally giving him 51.21 percent of the vote in the March 8 election.
Parks received 9,482 votes, while his closest challenger, Forescee Hogan-Rowles got 8,058 votes, or 43.52 percent, according to the clerk's figures.
Jabari Jumaane received 975 votes, or 5.27 percent.
Parks had declared victory on election night after unofficial results gave him 50.89 percent of the vote. Hogan-Rowles, however, did not concede, saying the number of provisional and vote-by-mail ballots meant that Parks might not have the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.
Hogan-Rowles today thanked her supporters for their work on the campaign.
"We came just a few votes away from forcing Bernard Parks into a runoff—even though he used to be one of the most popular leaders in the city,'' Hogan-Rowles said. "Our campaign sends an important message to elected leaders like Bernard Parks, who ignore their constituents and the workers who keep our city working: no matter how popular you think you are you can't take the people for granted.''
Parks' spokesman—his son, Bernard Parks Jr.—said they were pleased with the outcome.
"We were able to win pretty convincingly, with 70 precincts to her 27, which says a lot, considering the $1.2 million in special interest money spent against us,'' he said, referring to organized labor's support of Hogan-Rowles.
"Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. Mrs. Hogan-Rowles is still waiting for hers,'' he added.
Now that the votes have been tallied, the results certified and Bernard Parks declared winner of the 8th District City Council election, the extraordinary nature of this political contest can be examined.
Election night in the 8th District served as an opportunity to send a message to a politician who has lost his respect for constituents and of his constituents—at least half of them.
Regardless of what post election-day after spin is put on it, the 8th District ended up being the race nobody thought it would be, and everybody hoped for. From the opening count, when Bernard had 54 percent of the absentee ballot votes and only a 650-vote advantage, it was clear it was going to be a long night, and that was the highest vote percent he had all evening.
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.
On March 8, the Los Angeles African American community faces one of the most critical votes imaginable. In the 8th District, which has a dominating Black population, residents will elect a councilperson. Observers expect the race to be a tight one, and that has already been borne out.
Challengers Forescee Hogan-Rowles and Jabari Jumaane have well-grounded support, while Bernard Parks has the advantage of experience in his favor.
The whole issue of the poor representation for the poorest council district in Los Angeles was never more in evidence than when you look at the disparities between the quality of life of the people and their city council representation—in particular the pay inequity between Bernard Parks, his son (Junior), and the people who live in the 8th District.