Guardian Award for Merit
Master of Public Administration, 1976
Councilman, Eighth District, City of Los Angeles
Bernard C. Parks is serving his second term as Los Angeles City Councilmember for the Eighth Council District. One of the most densely populated areas in South Los Angeles, Parks represents over 250,000 people. During his first year in office he was appointed Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and to the Coliseum Commission where he has led the charge to return a National Football League team to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Currently, Councilmember Parks is a member of six standing committees including Budget and Finance; he is also a member of the ad hoc committee on Economic Recovery and Reinvestment. The Councilman has a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility while at the same time; maintaining a high quality of constituent services for the Great Eighth.
As Councilmember, Parks has implemented many programs to enrich the South Los Angeles area including the Prevention Intervention and Education (PIE) program at Crenshaw High School. The PIE program works to bridge the gap between black and brown students through various school assemblies and noteworthy speakers. Parks has also created an annual Youth Jobs and Career Fair where at least 20 youths were interviewed for jobs during its first year.
On the Council floor, Parks has been extremely successful in delivering legislation that benefits his constituents in the 8th district, including the temporary closure of the cul-de-sac at 84th Place and Flower Street. The cul-de-sac was a breeding ground for illegal activity and was located in a residential area specifically impacting families with small children. In addition, Councilmember Parks spearheaded the effort that ensured that a portion of the gasoline sales tax revenues owed to the city were explicitly used to improve the quality of life for motorists by directing $800,000 to pave five miles of dirt alleys and $200,000 to construct 90 to 100 additional approved, but unfunded speed humps. Parks also created a city-wide ordinance that imposed regulations on the issuance of permits that included the following businesses: automobile sales, auto repair shops, junk yards, and recycling materials and processing facilities.
Following Southern Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2006, Parks led the effort in helping evacuees find long-term housing. As the FEMA voucher deadline drew near, Parks worked with the City’s Housing Department and local landlords to construct a Rent Stabilization Ordinance. This Ordinance allowed L.A. landlords to temporarily charge reduced rent or offer other rent concessions to eligible persons displaced by the hurricanes.
Before being elected to the Los Angeles City Council, Parks spent 38 years as a police officer. Beginning his career with the police department at a time when patrol cars were just recently integrated, he rose through the ranks of one of the nation’s largest municipal law enforcement agencies to become Chief of Police in 1997.
As Police Chief, Parks implemented some of the most rigorous police reforms ever proposed in the history of the police department, including the institution of an Officer Accountability Policy. Parks also made it easier for the community to file complaints against problem officers by streamlining the Citizen Complaint System. Under Chief Parks the City of Los Angeles saw homicides fall by 45%, rape assault drop by nearly 20% and robbery decline by over 45%.
In his more that 45 years as a public servant, Parks has remained closely tied to his community. Aside from patrolling L.A.’s street as a young officer, Parks dedicated many volunteer years to youth activities in the district. He coached Baldwin Hills Youth Football for 10 years and mentored the likes of National Football League Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon and many other kids who grew to become successful community and business leaders. Parks and his wife, Bobbie, are involved in numerous community groups, such as: the Challengers Boys & Girls Club, the Los Angeles Urban League and the Brotherhood Crusade. He is also a life-time member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Recognized as a longtime voice for minority communities, in 2006 Parks’ footprints were added to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Ga.
Bernard C. Parks received his Bachelor of Science degree from Pepperdine University and his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California (USC).
The 8th Council District includes the communities of Baldwin Hills, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, West Adams, Jefferson Park, Chesterfield Square and other areas of South Los Angeles.