That's the cover line on CityBeat's lead story on the reinvention of Bernard Parks from police chief-turned-councilman into mayoral candidate. Dean Kuipers went out on the campaign trail with Parks last weekend in Leimert Park.
It’s noonish on Saturday, two days after the LAPD’s on-camera beating of Stanley Miller, and Councilman Parks sits smiling slightly on a small cabaret stage before two-dozen constituents, looking immaculate and mischievous, a sharp-eyed grandfather in his greyed hair and open shirt collar. The morning had already seen some impassioned pleas to save the coffee shop, which is under threat of eviction, so tension is high. Parks takes a question about Inclusionary Zoning and delivers a detailed, diplomatic answer about balancing the need for low-income housing without scaring off developers. But when the second question is about that videotaped beating, little about his demeanor changes. If he’s outraged – and he could be – it just doesn’t show. It’s an ex-police chief talking.
“The tape speaks for itself,” says Parks, a man who loves to speak, and tends to conjure a Clinton-like cloud of wonkery and hypotheticals. “You don’t have to be a police officer or a police expert to see that there are some issues here ... ” and then he slips directly into an emotionless analysis of the details. What was the demeanor of officers one-through-seven? What exactly would constitute being “out of policy?” Was there a crime involved?
About that gathering race for mayor, everybody I spoke with today for a magazine piece I'm writing had heard the same rumor: Antonio Villaraigosa intends to join the fray next week with an official announcement that he is gunning for a rematch. If true, that should make things deliciously complicated for a whole bunch of people already struggling to choose sides without losing friends. Perhaps no one is in as awkward a spot as county labor chief Miguel Contreras — a Villaraigosa confidante last time, but a Hahn airport commissioner (and key supporter of the mayor's LAX plan) ever since. * Thursday: Villaraigosa is due to speak at a Current Affairs Forum lunch today at the L.A. Chamber of Commerce building. Maybe he'll be asked...