July 4, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: “True” Democrat?

By Nick Antonicello

Just what is a “true” Democrat? 

It’s an interesting question in a non-partisan council contest where attorney Traci Park’s position on many issues including rampant homelessness and rising crime tilt right-of-center. 

In a new mailing funded by numerous special interests including Douglas Emmett Properties LP, and Kilroy Realty LP, the Park effort is receiving a substantial amount of outside funding to the tune of $754,666.94 according to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, in which one of her supporters is the California Apartment Association, a lobbying firm that represents rental property owners in a district where a large number of tenants are overwhelmingly registered Democrats. 

Park initially stressed her “outsider” status, but clearly is accepting special interest funding to the tune of close to a million dollars! 

So who is really the true insider? 

On side one a quote from one of her supporters describes Park as a “true Democrat,” who believes in “hard work, equal opportunities, and giving those who are struggling the tools to succeed.

But Park lacks any Democratic Party credentials such as membership in any local Democratic clubs or organizations like the West LA Democrats who interviewed her and she received just a paltry 3% of the membership’s support. While the organization made no formal endorsement (it’s guidelines require a 60% threshold), the brunt of the club’s support went to Greg Good, a prior executive board member and Vice-President. A former mayoral aide to Democrat Eric Garcetti, Good has the endorsement of the LA Democratic Party as well as Cara Robin, the President of the West LA Democrats. 

In fact, Park has not showcased support of any current elected Democrat to date, and has received financial contributions from former GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon and his wife Cynthia (Both have donated the maximum, $800). Simon was the 2002 Republican nominee for governor having defeated LA Mayor Richard Riordan in the primary. Simon is the son of William Simon, Jr who served as the 63rd Secretary of the Treasury under former Presidents Nixon and Ford. 

Simon was defeated in the general election by former Democratic Governor Gray Davis. 

Venice community leader and former VNC member CC Carter, who previously endorsed Park and recently switched to fellow Venetian Mike Newhouse, still remains in her website as a supporter of her campaign (www.tracipark.com). 

So being a “true” Democrat seems open to debate and discussion as phrased here, but according to Park’s voter records, she originally registered as a Republican while in law school and eventually changed her party status to a Democrat. A further examination of her voter profile indicates she registered to vote in Mono County, California on January 21, 2021 and then being officially removed from the Mono County rolls due to moving out of county on April 28, 2021. 

Mono County has a population of some 13,000 residents in the east central portion of California and is a popular tourist destination with Mammoth Lakes as a primary resort community. 

Mono County is 337 miles from Los Angeles County. 

Park then registered to vote here in LA on April 26, of 2021 according county documents, just 13 months ago. 

She officially announced her candidacy for the LA City Council in July of last year. 

Page two of the same flier says Park “will champion our Democratic values on the City Council.” 

With only one actual Republican in the race with US Army veteran Mat Smith, Venice HS teacher Soni Lloyd does not promote any party affiliation. 

Good and Newhouse seem to be the only two, active party Democrats while Allison Holdorff-Polhill, Erin Darling and James Murez have seemingly little affiliation with the Democratic Party. Holdorff-Polhill has made it clear her support of Roe v. Wade and is pro-choice and was a former staffer to LAUSD Vice-President Nick Melvoin, who worked in the Obama White House. 

The brochure closes with Park described as a “proven advocate” for our neighborhoods, but cites no actual involvement here in Venice with the local neighborhood.

Three of her opponents all served locally in Mike Newhouse, Erin Darling and James Murez. Newhouse served two-terms as the President of the VNC while Darling was elected twice to the VNC as a Community Officer. Murez was elected last year as President of the VNC and has served on that body in numerous positions over the last two decades as a Community Officer and member of LUPAC, the land use arm of that grass roots community council. 

Nick Antonicello is covering the race for council here in CD-11 and is a member of the Outreach and Oceanfront Walk Committee’s of the VNC. He can be reached online at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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