Voters in South Los Angeles, Compton, Carson, and Inglewood elect a new county supervisor on Tuesday. Two of the region's best-known African-Americans are running: former LAPD chief and current city councilman Bernard Parks and State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas. KPCC's Frank Stoltze reports.
Frank Stoltze: The two men hold vastly different resumes. Mark Ridley-Thomas is a former community organizer with a Ph.D. in social ethics. He prides himself on bringing people together.
Mark Ridley-Thomas: Started the "Days of Dialogue" which created cross-town conversation around the question of race – that's been my orientation for a very, very long time.
Stoltze: Bernard Parks spent almost four decades at the LAPD.
Bernard Parks: I did not have the ability in police work to decide who I was going to help. You, as a public servant, went to a location, you tried to resolve an issue.
Stoltze: Cal State Fullerton Political Science Professor Raphe Sonenshine says the candidates' backgrounds inform their politics.
Raphe Sonenshine: One of which is a little more traditional and hierarchical, which I think would be Parks. And the other is a little bit more horizontal – kind of building organizations at the grassroots level. They're very, very different.
Union rally chant: Say hope, and promise, with Mark Ridley-Thomas!
Stoltze: Organized labor is spending more than $8 million trying to elect Ridley-Thomas and gain a friendly three-seat majority on the board that decides union contracts.
The L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce backs Parks. The winner replaces Supervisor Yvonne Burke, who is retiring after more than 15 years representing the 2nd district.