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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bernie Takes On The Times

Councilman Bernard Parks is hopping mad that the LA Times has come out against a furniture store in his district when he points out that the Times supported the same exact plan just two years ago.

Bernard Parks, Jr. - the Councilman's son and Chief of Staff shot us over the following email with his dad's letter to Times publisher Dean Baquet attached.

* * *

Subject: Councilmember Parks Uncovers a Big Goof by the LA Times
FROM: Bernard.Parks.Jr@lacity.org
DATE: January 18th, 2006
TO: mayorsamyorty@aol.com

Councilmember Bernard C. Parks is sending the below letter to the Los AngelesTimes today, after the paper wrote an article opposing a proposed furniture store on Western Avenue, despite favoring the same furniture store just slightly more than two years earlier. This mistake is just the latest form of carelessness by the Times, who could have avoided this mistake by simply having credible editors on staff to make sure that they don't support two different sides of the same article.

January 18, 2006


Mr. Dean Baquet
Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square
Los Angeles, CA 90053


Dear Mr. Baquet,

Congratulations! Your paper’s Saturday article entitled: “Land Seized for Animal Shelter May be Sold to Developer-Doner” actually defied science by proving that you can be in two places at one time.

I don’t know if you remember, but this is the second time the Times has weighed in on the proposed animal shelter on South Western Avenue. The problem is: the first time you reported the story, you favored a furniture store instead of an animal shelter. However, this Saturday– just over two years after the original story– you apparently opposed it. So, I ask, once and for all, where does the Times stand on this issue? And, why all the flip-flopping?

Throughout my career as a public servant, I have found it impossible to adequately serve the residents of this great city by playing on both sides of the issue. I would suggest that you adopt this philosophy because, despite your sagging circulation, your paper is still responsible to the relatively small audience it attempts to inform.

In Michael Hiltzik’s 2003 article “City Putting a Pound in the Way of Progress”, he asks the question: “Why didn’t anyone from City Hall stop by and say something along the lines of: Cisco, this is a spectacular and courageous development you’ve undertaken in the heart of South-Central. Is there anything we can do for you?”.

But, the Patrick McGreevy piece from this past weekend is obviously slanted in the opposite direction. He accuses city officials of having to do “fancy legal footwork” to ensure the animal shelter is kept off of the site. There are also unnecessary details about campaign contributions given by the owners of the furniture store. Given my history and reputation for integrity, I am extremely offended that your paper would even raise the possibility that my vote is for sell– and for a mere $1,000! In the future, just for fairness, why don’t you allow your reporters to report in their articles the many times votes go against contributors. This would probably be foreign as it would represent balance. By putting this policy into effect, you would be able to avoid articles like the one published Saturday, where the only consistency was its many contradictions with the previous article.

Unfortunately, this is just the latest instance of your paper’s bad fact pattern in stories that seem to involve me. I could recite the seemingly endless stream of complaints to and retractions from the Times, but instead I’ll just ask that you examine the enclosed Hiltzik and McGreevy articles and see if at the very least you can introduce the two gentleman and see what happens from there.

Respectfully,

BERNARD C. PARKS
Councilmember

MORE: Full text of both LA Times articles Parks refers to posted at Mayor Sam 2.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Bernie Jr. and Blackula Sr. got it wrong again. The L A Times was not in favor or against the animal shelter or the furniture store being placed on Western Avenue. What they reported that it was wrong to displace one furniture company with another furniture company and to use eminent domain to do it.

Blackula you were caught with your pants down. What you should do is accept responsibility do the right thing for the original owners and move on.

January 18, 2006 4:23 PM  

Blogger joseph mailander said:

That's not a really tight letter; in fact, it's a big red herring. The people of LA deserve better on this one.

Facts are: BP supported taking over a property in the name of public interest. The public (the whole City, via a bond) paid a premium on the property. The project then stalled, and the public interest was never served.

The people have got nothing at all for loaning the City their money to date. Rather than indignant posturing, an apology for making a mistake and squandering so many City resources just to spin wheels is what's most warranted here.

January 18, 2006 4:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The realilty is that the world runs on $$$. Shit happened and now they can't afford it...so what do you do? You sell it. Sorry goes out to the people who were displaced, but what can you do? The cost of real estate and construction has gone up. There was no master plan behind this, just poor planning.

Now let it go!

I don't care for BP, but he has a point. Why don't they ever write stories about elected officials voting against contributor? ANS: Not sexy.

January 18, 2006 4:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The problem is eniment domain being used for profitability. If the animal shelter is not going to be built on this land then the original furniture owners who had to relocate because of eniment domain should be given the option first not this new furniture owner Bernie wants. This will set a bad precedent if it moves forward. It was good reporting by Patrick McGreevy.

January 18, 2006 6:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Poor Bitter Bernie is sure trying to cover his BS. Of course the Times would be in favor of a furniture store - that was already there! Duh - no Brain Surgeons in that family! Now to have run that furniture business out and try to equate bringing in a pay for play co is - well, BB must be taking lessong from George W ... just keep telling them its true and they will believe. And if they don't believe then cloud the issue by attacking the credibilty of the source...

January 18, 2006 6:13 PM  

Anonymous ITA guy said:

Its ironic that Bitter Bernie who has railed against blogs in the past, even attacking the Fourth Floor blogger, is now using them. He apparently spammed at least Mayor Sam and LA Observed and who knows who else.

Was Bernie one of the CMs that had ITA block Mayor Sam from their computers? Now he needs them.

January 18, 2006 7:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Attn: Bernard Parks

Michael Hilzik is a columnist. He writes columns that reflect his viewpoint.

Patrick McGreevy is a beat reporter. He writes news articles that describe factual events and contain quoted statements from partcipants and observers.

It's apparent you didn't write that letter to the publisher. But you look like an idiot when your staffers write such uninformed piffle.

January 18, 2006 9:34 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Patrick McGreevy had no obligation to write a favorable article merely because another reporter did

Councilman Parks needs to write a new letter explaining why, during his watch, when the City already owned land suitable for a shelter in his district, he sat by as the City wasted years and tax dollars on an eminent domain lawsuit to acquire a new parcel half a block away. Perhaps he was too busy campaigning for mayor to do the job we were paying him to do? I took a leave of absence from my job to campaign. Parks and Villaraigosa, by contrast, continued to collect their paychecks from us taxpayers while campaigning essentially full-time.

Parks also needs to explain why, during his watch: the City didn't drop the eminent domain proceedings once people "discovered" the suitability of the nearby land the City already owned; and why the newly acquired land is being sold to a campaign contributor.

But let's give him the chance to explain. He deserves to tell his side of the story. His initial letter, however, just isn't good enough.

January 18, 2006 9:45 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

P.S. Where are the examples of him or anyone else at City Hall voting against donors -- without at the same time voting in favor of bigger donors?

January 18, 2006 9:48 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

P.P.S. His SON is on the payroll? Criminey! That's reassuring when it comes to integrity, isn't it?! Nepotism is not what you'd call a credibility booster.

January 18, 2006 9:52 PM  

Blogger Phil Krakover said:

I find it interesting that Patrick McGreevey, who is supposed to be a "reporter" and a "journalist" did not take the time to research the law here. Nor did any other person on this blog bother to check to see just how Bernie is "selling the property to another favored donor".

Well folks, he can't determine to whom the property is to be sold, not even to the previous owner.

The City of Los Angeles rules provide that once the property is determined by the Council to be "surplus property", it is sold through a process that requires that it be sold at auction to the highest bidder.

For verification, just call Frank Kobashi, Surplus Property Manager, at (213)922-8549.

Shame on you, Patrick. How about an apology to Councilman Parks?

January 19, 2006 2:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Again Phil; why do you keep missing the point? Who gives a flying fuck about "surplus property"??

Why is everyone so blind to the fact that this is a problem of taking someones property by eminent domain and then NOT USING IT FOR THAT PURPOSE.

Where do you come from with that bullshit kind of thinking?? Seriously!

It's not our fault someone in the city is so stupid that they ended up with these poor former owners' property and now it's "surplus".

Rain Man could have figured this one out.

I'm so sick of the people who keep sticking up for Parks in this situation. Or is it all Parks staffers? I suppose that's a possibility.

Walter-Parks doesn't like anyone to mention his family negatively and Walter-PLEASE, how could you run for mayor and know so little about so much of our local politics. You are kind of shocking sometimes and not in a good way.

January 19, 2006 2:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

9:34 PM

Piffle? Really? Come on, who uses piffle?

January 19, 2006 7:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Parks Jr. is a well respected young man. Its unfair that you try and trash him. I don't mind that he's COS for Parks Sr. because at least he does a great job and knows his stuff. I can't say that about Huizar's people or even Antonio's who are also on the payroll.

McGreevy did a good job of reporting what was going on. Let's face the facts council members don't give a crap about the laws or how things are suppose to work. They will do whatever they want to get what they want and I think Parks Sr. has the last say in this.

January 19, 2006 8:37 AM  

Blogger Archie Bunker said:

The concern I have, is that Councilman Bernard Parks opened his mouth and talked about how corrupt and scandalous former Mayor Hahn. Now it looks like it's the pot calling the kettle black. But of course his bitterness and his arrogance is causing this little oversight to turn into a big debacle.

January 19, 2006 9:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The added value to the property made (profit above eminamt domain price) on the sale of the property to the second furniture store owner should go to the original owner, whose property was taken. That would have left a better taste in our mouths as a result of this eminant domain fiasco, especially months after the ridiculous Supreme Court ruling on eminant domain.

January 19, 2006 9:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

There should also be an amendment to the Eminant Domain process that would enable the forced out owner to be compensated if the acquired property is not used in a certain period of time (2-3 yrs)and if re-sold, the origianl owner should be entitled to profits above eminant domain price paid.

January 19, 2006 9:58 AM  

Blogger Phil Krakover said:

All good ideas, but you'll have to go to the State Legislature, get your bills passed, and get the Governor to sign them.

Short of that, it is just plain old surplus property, and will be sold to the highest bidder.

The emminent domain laws provide a process by which the owner/seller is assured of getting a fair price for his property. Appraisals and litigation are always available and often utilized. More often than not, unwilling sellers get more than the property is actually worth because of sympathetic juries.

THere is no room for later compensation in the law as it stands today.

Once it is determined to be surplus property, it will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

It is wrong to criticize Bernie for this as if he is doing something crooked. He's not.

Tempest in a teapot.

No, I don't work for Bernie.

I'm a dead lobbyist/planner. Once I was known as the 16th vote on the Council.

January 19, 2006 3:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Nepotism is great to get in the door, but it's up to you to back it up and prove yourself.

I have little faith in a guy who's personal e-mail address is HESOFYN@aol.com...(translated to He's So Fine).

January 19, 2006 4:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What's wrong with that? He's a man who has confidence. You sound a little jealous. By the way I think its horrible that you are posting his "personal e-mail" here.

January 19, 2006 5:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

He's so fine?? That is freaking hilarious.

That reminds me of the millions of vanity license plates here in LA that say things like FXYCHK and it's a hideous girl. (and who uses foxy anymore?) Or 1HOTEE. Or any plate that makes you think there is going to be a hot female and it's an ugly one who must just like herself. Confidence? Okay then. Hope it works for her.

January 19, 2006 8:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What is Blackula?

I'm not a stupid person.. yet what the hell are you talking about? Sometimes you bloggers confuse me.

January 19, 2006 8:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Yeah. But, he really is "so fine".

January 20, 2006 10:38 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

True confidence is not having to post a big sign on your chest bragging about your virtues. I think you're mistaking confidence for arrogance....entirely 2 separate things.

January 20, 2006 12:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Parks Jr. didn't post or brag to anyone in public. It was his "personal e-mail" and someone posted it here. I was against Parks Sr. for a couple of years and went against him on major issues. However, in the last year he has showed more class, dignity and intelligence on his voting in council that I have gained a new respect for him. Also, I've dealt with many of the CM's COS's. They should take some lessons from Parks Jr. who is smart, classy and well respected in city hall. So all you immature people posting crap against them grow up and debate the issues not attack them personally.

January 20, 2006 4:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oh god Nicole, go fuck him for Christ's sake.

January 20, 2006 8:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If he's so hot, why doesn't he ever show up on one of those City Hall's hottest lists?

January 21, 2006 8:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Because only one other employee besides himself at City Hall thinks he's hot?

January 21, 2006 1:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm not a big fan of him or his father, but they are both very good looking. And, there are several others who feel the same way.

January 22, 2006 10:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Nicole? I was sure that was Adena talking...

January 27, 2006 12:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Nicole? I surely thought that was Adena talking...

January 27, 2006 5:15 PM  

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