Election ’08: I Cram to Understand Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas

Okay, so I have tried to avoid writing about Senator Mark-Ridley-Thomas who is a candidate for Los Angeles County Supervisor in the Second District. Partly because I don’t want anymore phone calls from Betty Pleasant, but mostly because Mr. Dymally told me that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, just permanent issues—and he was right. Regardless of how I feel about Ridley-Thomas or who wins the race—one fact remains the same, both Ridley-Thomas and Councilman Bernard Parks will still be elected officials representing some portion of Los Angeles County whether it be the Council, Senate, or County. Alliances made throughout this race will dissolve, frenimies will kiss and make up and move on to the next election in March. It happens all the time.

However, I can’t pass up the chance to point out something that I find to be very disturbing—and possibly telling about Ridley-Thomas’ campaign.

Election Day is tomorrow and already plans are being made for the next round of musical chairs in Black L.A. politics. All eyes are on Ridley-Thomas’ Senate seat. In fact, billboards are being put up in a race that hasn’t even been declared.

But what really shocked me was a press release out of Ridley-Thomas’ camp announcing his Election Night Victory party…in Century City at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Now I admit I am no Einstein, but even according to Ridley-Thomas’ own press release, “L.A. County’s Second District includes the cities of Culver City, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Carson, Lynwood, Compton and portions of Los Angeles and unincorporated sections of south and southwest Los Angeles County.”

I took a look over at the smartvoter.org to pull up the ballot for Century City residents—no mention of the Board of Supervisors race on the sample ballot for the zip code 90067.

Now it could be very well possibly be that Century City is a part of the Second District—although I have been hard pressed to find that information—even on the County Board of Supervisor’s site.

The Second District is home to some of the most economically depressed areas in Los Angeles County. I know, I live in it. The Second District has seen more and more people seeking public aide during this economic meltdown and State budget cut of $129 million to the county budget. Not to mention, we have a huge homeless population as well.

I say all of that to say that, to me it’s very telling when a candidate who wants to represent the people—takes his Election Night Victory Party as far away from the people as he possibly can. I mean really? Century City. What was wrong with your campaign office on Arlington and Jefferson where at least the parking is free and it’s in the community?

It’s the people in the hood that are going to turn out the vote tomorrow. The people in Culver City, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Carson, Lynwood, Compton and South L.A—not Century City.

At a time when most people are penny pinching and scrapping by, it doesn’t make me feel good when a candidate who wants to represent me—is already taking his business out of the community—and he hasn’t even won the election. It’s no secret that Ridley-Thomas is backed by labor to the tune of about $8 million dollars—but that doesn’t mean that he can’t celebrate his victory—assuming he is victorious, which is really here nor there—in the hood that helped him get to Election Night in the first place.

A perfect example is Isadore Hall. The favorite to win the 52nd Assembly District which includes North Long Beach, Compton, Watts, South L.A., and Paramount—Izzie is keeping it real—at Compton’s Crystal Park Casino and Hotel tomorrow night.

And yes—I am a supporter of Bernard Parks’ for L.A. County Supervisor, who is having his party on Crenshaw, in the hood, at his campaign headquarters.

Just a little food for thought as we head into the voting booth on Election Day.

P.S. You know I love you Betty, I think you’re one of the best writers in Los Angeles–but how you feel about MRT is how I feel about BP.

The Court of Public Opinion