DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — You can cross one of the most heavily speculated-about names off the 2015 election calendar: Bernard Parks Jr., the son and chief of staff to City Councilman Bernard Parks, has opted not to run for the Eighth District City Council seat.
“I weighed it for a long time,” Parks said in an interview with Los Angeles Downtown News, noting that he had been asked about succeeding the elder Parks almost since his arrival in City Hall more than a decade ago. “I have had ample time to think about it, and ultimately it just wasn’t a good fit for me and, most importantly, it wasn’t a good fit for my family.”
Bernard Parks Sr., the former chief of the LAPD, won the seat that includes Exposition Park and much of South Los Angeles in 2003. He will be termed out in 2015.
Parks Jr. joined the office as director of communications in 2003 and was named chief of staff the following year. Previously he had served as an associate producer on local news affiliates of CBS stations in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Although Parks Jr. said, “You get hooked on working with these communities and these constituents and the different departments,” that was not enough to sway him to enter what appears to be a competitive race.
Parks Jr. has long been watched by City Hall observers, and there was speculation that his name recognition, experience in the district and political connections would make him a frontrunner if he entered. However, he noted that there is a big difference between having the same name as the officeholder and winning and then doing the job.
“These offices are not a birthright. This isn’t England. You are not anointed when your parent dies,” he said. “If your heart is not in this it is best not to get involved. It’s not a 9-5 job.”
Already seven individuals have filed paperwork to run for the seat. The leader in money raised after the first fundraising period was Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the president and CEO of the Community Coalition, which works to better South Los Angeles. He had raised $61,400 by the reporting period that closed on Dec. 31.
The primary election is in March 2015.
Copyright 2014 Los Angeles Downtown News.