The two candidates in the runoff for L.A.’s furthest Westside city council district are Erin Darling and Traci Park. We didn’t endorse in the primary, but have both met and interviewed Mr. Darling in the months since, and have followed both campaigns closely. And every day, it becomes increasingly clear to Westside Voice that the far and away best choice for Council District 11*(CD11) is Mr. Darling. We encourage residents to give him their enthusiastic vote.

Darling is clearly the only progressive choice, and some believe only the real long-term Democrat. He was easily endorsed by the County Democratic Party, a slew of Democratic clubs, elected leaders, environmental organizations, and unions.

But aside from partisan endorsements, look at Darling’s character and policy positions. First, he’s someone who knows who he is and where he came from (Venice!). He’s a surfer (very CD 11!) and has spent a lot of his career protecting tenants from bad landlords. On housing, Darling gets that the only thing that can fight homelessness is housing and wrap-around services. His Website (see below) details several policy priorities on housing and homelessness that are spot on, including increasing the use of mental health rapid response teams instead of cops and speeding up the approval process for permanent supportive housing.

Darling also has bold and thoughtful positions on transportation, environmental protection, and is way ahead of his opponent on the proper role of the police force and on gun safety.

Darling’s opponent, Ms. Park, has a character issue. Spared from worse headlines and reporting this week only thanks to Councilmembers Martinez, de Leon, and Cedillo, Ms. Park defended a City of Anaheim employee in a case of racist abuse and harassment. Andrew Harrell was the only African American in his department for his 16 months as a superintendent in the City of Anaheim’s department of public works. During that time, he documented consistent abuse and racist remarks from his supervisor, Dan Debassio, who was represented by Ms. Park. Mr. Debassio is said to have used the N-Word with him on multiple occasions, which, for some ungodly reason, Traci Park argued was not technically racist language in a harassment case. Worse, in the days since this has been revealed, she’s taken a somewhat cavalier, certainly casual, attitude about her blatant defense of this racist language. The presiding judge in the case was so offended, he not only ruled against Park and the City of Anaheim, but is quoted as rebuking her saying, “The use of perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English,… a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry is repugnant.”

We believe this historical event, and how Park has handled the revelations, are completely disqualifying for the office of Los Angeles City Council.

There’s more. Park has gained the nickname “Officer Traci” on social media for her more punitive approaches to homelessness, and probably because she’s slathered herself all over getting police union endorsements. On her campaign Website, she has somewhat softened her language with additional plans for homeless services that meet the mark. But is she sincere about humane solutions to the problem? We don’t know, because she won’t give us the time of day. In fact, a few weeks back, she used an intermediary to call our publisher (a friend they have in common) to see if we would be willing to even give her some consideration. We were…but we got crickets. If Ms. Park prevails, we hope she’ll be more open to collaborating with us to report on her work for CD 11.

Ms. Park may get a lot of the Caruso voters in the Palisades, but we think Erin Darling is what’s best about the people of CD 11 and will best represent them. We can’t wait to see him tackle the many issues plaguing the district with tact, passion, and humanity. Vote Erin Darling for CD 11.

Erin Darling Campaign Website:

 *Council District 11 is comprised of the following L.A. Neighborhoods: Brentwood, Del Rey, Ladera, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, West L.A./Sawtelle, and Westchester

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