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St. Bernard and Poor Richard

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As promised, LAist looks at the other two “major” candidates for office. Walter Moore deserves (and will receive) his own post in due time.

Bernard Parks
Bernard Parks is indeed St. Bernard, the patron saint of Villaraigosa and Hertzberg. His sole purpose in the race at this point is to draw off votes from Hahn’s black base in order to make Hahn miss the runoff, or if he makes the runoff, to support the opponent. More than one article has detailed the massive managerial failures in Parks’ campaign that have made his effort a failure citywide; LA Weekly’s Erin Kaplan did an especially excellent in-depth piece. In the article, Kaplan notes that the campaign is now saying, after its pathetic lack of fundraising, that they’re running a grass-roots movement to energize the base. This is political code for “we blew it on the fundraising and we don’t have the money to run a citywide campaign.”

Parks’ fundraising results in January, which Phil Wallace noted in an earlier post, unfortunately do nothing to increase his viability. Even after his first-place showing, he still only has $436,000 on-hand, a far cry from Hertzberg’s $1.6 million and Villaraigosa’s $1.7 million, let alone the hated Hahn’s $2.5 million. Note that in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times article about Hertzberg’s TV ad, the media buy cost $250,000. That’d be more than half of Parks’ entire campaign budget. Sorry, Bernie-ites: your candidate doesn’t have what it takes to run a citywide campaign, and will fall off from radar screens outside South LA fast.

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For our money, the more interesting question is where Parks goes from here. He’s probably banking on his support vaulting Antonio or Bob into the mayorship, which would put them deeply in debt to the gentlemanly councilman from District Eight. Not only a play for revenge against Hahn, but a way for his extremely poor and high-crime district to get some more attention from the highest levels of City government. By most inside accounts, Parks has been a very good councilman for his district–could he be sacrificing his own political future for revenge and the good of CD-8? It’s quite possible.

Richard Alarcon
Poor State Senator Richard Alarcon, he's the worst-funded of the major candidates. The former councilman is trying to be Antonio from 2001, coming out of nowhere with a message of lower middle-class liberal empowerment... except in a race with an incumbent, two sitting councilmen, and one charismatic and well-funded outsider.

Possibly the right message, but really at the wrong time. His ideas, which LAist doesn't deign to discuss, tend to be crazy for budgetary or practical reasons, or illegal. Note how much press he’s been getting–almost none. He does nicely in debates, and says the right things to get his populist message out, but he’s never had a chance in this race, even when (how long ago it seems now) Antonio hadn’t thrown his hat into the ring. Quite honestly, LAist has never understood why Poor Richard decided to run in the first place.

Photo Credit: AP photo

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