On November 3, 2020, Joe Biden was elected President. To this day, Trump and his supporters question the legitimacy of the election lending credence to the adage that a lie repeated often enough becomes perceived as the truth. Sadly, this Trumpian tactic dating back to Nazi Germany has found its way to my neighborhood and Los Angeles City Council District 11.

Westside Voice endorsed Erin Darling after all hell broke loose on the L.A. City Council when racist, anti-Semitic, and all manner of hate speech were voiced by Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmember Gil Cedillo and Councilmember Kevin de León. Martinez stepped down, Cedillo is a short-timer, and de León refuses to resign despite an around-the-clock vigil outside his Eagle Rock residence. You may ask what this has to do with the race for the CD 11 seat between Erin Darling and Traci Park. The short answer is, pretty much everything.

In her private practice where representing a client is a matter of choice, Traci Park has defended the use of the N-word. Let that sink in. Black Lives Matter noted that anyone who defends racism in court is a racist. Traci immediately began leveling criticism on Erin Darling for defending a pedophile, a rapist and a drug dealer. Fact: All these cases were during Darling’s time as a public defender, when lawyers are assigned cases; they don’t choose them. In private practice, Darling is today a civil rights attorney who advocates for the rights of renters and preventing people from becoming homeless. And isn’t that “the” issue for voters?

Park’s “clean sweep” approach toward homeless encampments will not solve the problem which requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach, as detailed by Darling.

The toughest job for our newest councilmember will be to unite our community and build consensus on the Council. Can you imagine even one councilmember approving Park’s plan that will result in homeless encampments migrating into their districts?

Erin Darling is a steadfast proponent of affordable housing. Park has lobbied against every proposed housing project for low and modest-income individuals and families in CD11. Every. Single. One.

Traci Park has proven herself to be a divisive and polarizing force. She is perhaps best known for her leadership role in the Recall Bonin 2021 effort, which cost the taxpayers millions and failed to attract enough voters despite the barrage of abuse that was leveled against Mike Bonin. When he decided against running again, a field of eight candidates entered the primary, including Traci Park and Erin Darling.

Darling finished first in the primary with a grassroots campaign and donations averaging $153. Park rode the wave of developer dollars into second place.

She turned the vitriol she created toward Bonin into her main strategy. She dubbed Erin Darling as “Bonin 2.0” based on Bonin’s endorsement. Fact: Bonin contacted Erin exactly one time before offering his endorsement. Erin willingly accepted the endorsement because he believes the recall process was patently unfair, a waste of taxpayer money, and achieved nothing other than create a climate of animosity toward Bonin, which most recently manifested in the hate speech expressed toward him and his child by fellow councilmembers.

Here are a few things to consider before casting your vote.

Erin Darling is a progressive and long-time Democrat. Traci Park was a registered Republican who switched parties. She is aligned with the equally divisive Sheriff Villanueva who operates outside his legal jurisdiction in search for media coverage.

Traci Park has a huge war chest and her campaign is largely funded by developers. Just look at the small print in the mailers in your mailbox to see who supports her campaign.

Westside Current, a suspect news outlet funded by Traci Park, is largely responsible for starting unfounded rumors that spread like wildfire among her supporters.

A case in point: Contrary to what you are being led to believe, Erin Darling does not want to see low-income housing built on the public Penmar Golf Course.

Another thing to consider: In recent weeks, more than 600 legally placed Darling lawn signs have disappeared. In some instances, they have been magically replaced by Traci Park signs in the exact same locations to create the illusion she is running unopposed.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Erin and his grassroots supporters are out in the district every day connecting directly with voters. Despite Traci’s recent attack flyer that describes Erin as “missing,” you will find him at every farmer’s market, community event and forum, patiently answering constituent questions.

Erin is well aware that a legitimate criticism leveled at Bonin is that he did not always respond to constituents’ concerns; Erin experienced it himself when he contacted Bonin’s office several times about a water leak on his street and never heard back. Darling 1.0 has pledged to respond to constituents within 48 hours.

More information about Darling’s comprehensive plan to resolve the homeless crisis and to address other pressing concerns in the community can be found at erindarling11.com

Mail-in ballots and drop boxes are now in place; in-person vote centers open this Saturday.

Laurence D. Cohen has lived in CD11 for more than two decades. As a long-time media relations professional, he has represented AQMD, the Los Angeles Marathon, Beyond the Bell (LAUSD’s after school programs), and a large number of nonprofits. He is donating his time to volunteer for the Erin Darling campaign.

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