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2 deep-rooted choices for 2nd Dstrct Sup.

October 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some coveted political turf in Los Angeles County will be up for grabs come Election Day. County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke is retiring. And two powerful local figures are battling to replace her. Here is more on the showdown between Bernard Parks and Mark Ridley-Thomas. L.A.'s Second District is a huge district. Sprawling from Gardena, Carson, Lynwood to Lennox, and north to Culver City, West Los Angeles, and into Silver Lake. The district has been represented on the Board of Supervisors by Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, but that is about to change.

"What I think is kind of unique about the county is you actually have services there that you can turn people's lives around. Move them from poverty back into the mainstream," said Councilman Bernard Parks, supervisorial candidate.

Bernard Parks is the ramrod-straight Los Angeles City Councilman and former police chief who is fighting for Braithwaite Burke's seat on the board. His opponent is state senator and former city councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

"I love serving constituents and a significant portion of this job is to provide constituent services," said state Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas, supervisorial candidate.

The two men are spending record sums. Fliers, direct mail and television advertisements have inundated the district. Record numbers of voters are expected to turn out, but not because of them. Only 21 percent voted in the June primary. Polling places will be flooded on Election Day because of high interest in the presidential race. The man who wins the Second District, many feel, will be the one who connects with all those new voters. People like Brian Gillespie of Culver City. He knows who he wants for president.

"I plan on voting for Barack. Yeah, yeah," said Culver City voter Brian Gillespie. But he hasn't a clue about who's running for supervisor. "I do not. No, I plan on looking at my ballot and seeing like who those people are and doing some research," said Gillespie.

It's an important choice. County supervisors have immense power over health care, transportation and law enforcement. And there're only five of them. Parks and Ridley-Thomas are well known to their core constituencies. At Phillip's Bar-B-Que on Crenshaw, Maria Cherry says she'll vote for Mark Ridley-Thomas.

"Because I remember him from the neighborhood. I grew up with him, went to Dorsey and he been around the community forever," said Crenshaw-area voter Maria Cherry.

But also in line here, Manley Henry is for Parks.

"If I remember some of the issues because he was police chief and I guess he just, I guess seems more trustworthy to me," said Manley Henry, Crenshaw-area voter.

It is rare when a competitive seat opens up on the Board of Supervisors, but the voters of the Second District are lucky that both contenders for that seat have deep roots in the community and lots of experience, and its up to them next Tuesday to decide which one they want to represent them.


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