Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Darrell Park L.A. County Supervisor


-by Dorothy Reik
President, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

In the June jungle primary for the sprawling 2,800 square mile 5th supervisorial district of L.A. County-- which borders Ventura County on the west, Kern County on the North and San Bernardino County on the east, encompassing Lancaster and Palmdale and the rest of the Antelope Valley, and Santa Clarita, Caustic before sweeping into the San Fernando Valley into Tujunga, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Alhambra, Covina, La Verne and San Dimas-- no one won an outright victory and the November general will pit Democrat Darrell Park and Republican Kathryn Barger. Surprisingly, Barger, who was Mike Antonovich’s chief of staff, doesn't just have the support of the Republican Party but that of many Democrats and even some unions including, shamefully, the L.A. County Federation of Labor. Barger has raised about $1.4 million so far while Park has raised just $88,000. These were the results of the primary:
Kathryn Barger- 105,520 (29.64%)
Darrell Park- 55,185 (15.5%)
Bob Huff- 52,359 (14.71%)
Ara James Najarian- 46,587 (13.08%)
Mitchell Englander- 42,82 (12.03%)
Elan Carr- 40,580 (11.4%)
Billy Malone- 8,701 (2.44%)
The problem for Park in this race is that candidates are not listed by party affiliation and many voters don't even know that Barger is a Republican and that Park is a Democrat. Look at the front page of her official website: no mention of the Republican Party. Park's website makes a big point of being a Democrat and a progressive and the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party. Eric Bauman, chairman of L.A.'s Democratic Party-- and just named #11 in Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 Democrats, is fuming about about Democrats endorsing Barger. "They deserve to hear from us-- even Sheila [Kuehl]." Democrats who crossed party lines can be subject to censure by the party. In answer to an inquiry on the subject, Bauman  texted "Let’s talk about it. We’d have to whack a lot of our friends."

I know about Mike Antonovich! For fifteen years as our supervisor Mike held Topanga Canyon hostage to developers who wanted to build a golf course there, and a hotel, and condos. To do this they wanted to tear down all the little houses by the creek to accommodate increased water runoff. They never said what would happen to those who lived there. The only thing that saved our Canyon was the DEMOCRATS. We were redistricted and Kenneth Hahn and then Ed Edelman turned the property into a park!

But Mike, and now his hand-picked successor, Kathryn Barger, are doing the exact same thing to Santa Clarita in the form of the Newhall Ranch development, a diabolical scheme to build a huge housing development on a flood plain! The residents have been fighting this now for TWENTY YEARS. Just this April one of Barger’s donors, the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, held an all day forum on how to counter the CEQA challenges brought up by the winning lawsuit that has stopped Newhall Ranch for now. The program description for their “environmental symposium” reads:
Our five expert panels, consisting of representatives of government offices, academia, environmental advocacy groups, and private law firms, will provide their insights into several timely topics and practice areas, including recent CEQA developments arising out of the Newhall Ranch case, management of complex groundwater plumes, practice skills in administrative arenas, the latest issues under the Clean Water Act and NPDES permitting, and vapor intrusion concerns.
Barger says CEQA needs to be “reformed." That’s code for "weakened" or even worse yet, eliminated. But help is on the way in the form of an environmental policy wonk and economic justice and human rights proponent, DEMOCRAT Darrell Park. Park is no fan of the Newhall Ranch development: "I am adamantly opposed to the Newhall Ranch development. For too long the County has served the needs of developers rather than the people. We will work to preserve our open spaces and stop the exploitation of our environment." Park has also called for an end to the use of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill which has reached its maximum limit.

But it’s not just Newhall Ranch. Ask the minority community about living in District 5. If you live in Section 8 housing you are living under occupation. Sheriffs can come bursting through your door at any time, day or night, to make sure you are following the draconian rules under which the vouchers are issued. No wonder the sheriff’s union loves Barger-- she will protect them just as her boss does. According to the Whittier Daily News "Facing a lawsuit alleging racism, county officials have temporarily stopped a program that was allegedly targeting Antelope Valley minorities on public housing assistance by subjecting them to extra inspections and police harassment." Antonovich/Barger supported the sheriffs after the Board of Supervisors instituted a moratorium. Of the 20,000 Section 8 families only 139 were found in violation. The County paid $45 million to settle the lawsuits.

As the father of an adopted nine year old Ethiopian son, Park has a personal interest in seeing an end to racial profiling in District 5. "I’m raising the world’s cutest 9-year-old son" and "I honestly have to say that I live in fear of what happens when he gets his driver’s license… simply because he is an African-American male." "Black and Latino drivers were disproportionately stopped and searched by the Sheriff’s department. Those who were arrested as part of these discriminatory sweeps then entered a jail system where prisoners were regularly beaten, where those with mental illness were alternately ignored and abused, and where suicide rates were sky-high..."

Darrell Park is a Democrat. Barger is a Republican. No matter how "moderate" a Republican is, a Republican is NOT a Democrat! In this presidential election year, in a district that Obama won 52-48% and where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, 41% to 30%, we should have a winner in Darrell Park.



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