Labor unions that already put up more $4.5 million to elect Mark Ridley-Thomas to the county Board of Supervisors plan to spend millions more, says Garrett Therolf in the Times. The spending, triggered by the rare open seat, has made this the most expensive board race ever.
"Basically, nothing that you've read in the past few weeks has changed who Bernard Parks is," said Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the 800,000-member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. "He is still the man who opposed so many things important to working people, who opposed rent control, who opposed a living wage, who allowed Wal-Mart in."
Ridley-Thomas, a state senator from Los Angeles, had 45% of the vote in the June primary, compared with 40% for Parks, a city councilman and former police chief, but because no candidate won 50%, a runoff will be held Nov. 4. Both men are Democrats, but labor officials consider Ridley-Thomas a more reliable ally.
"Ridley-Thomas is in the unions' pocket; he'll do anything the union tells him to do," said David Fleming, chairman of the Los Angeles County Business Federation. "Clearly, if he gives labor everything they are asking, it is going to cost a lot more money."