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Los Angeles | LOS ANGELES ELECTIONS

Parks Finds His Press Aide Close to Home

March 07, 2003|Matea Gold | Times Staff Writer

Newly elected City Councilman Bernard C. Parks did not look far when he made his first hire this week: He drafted his son, Bernard Parks Jr.

The younger Parks, who helped run the former police chief's first political campaign, left his job as a news writer for KCBS-TV Channel 2's morning show this week to become his father's press secretary.

"He asked me to do it, and that was the tell-all sign I should," said Parks Jr., 29. "His evaluation that I might know what I'm doing means a lot to me."

City rules prohibit civil servants from supervising their spouses or relatives, but those rules do not apply to council staff members.

Parks Jr. said he does not believe his relationship with his father will get in the way of their professional roles.

"It's just like anybody: He takes the advice he thinks is good, and doesn't listen to the rest," the younger Parks said. "He's been bossing me around for 30 years now, so it's a pretty easy go."

Councilman Parks said he selected his son for the post because of his experience working in the news media.

"He has a good knack for understanding the business he's in," Parks said. "Some people say I don't."

He has not yet settled on a salary for his first staff member. "Anything higher than my 1976 allowance would be good," his son said.

Parks Jr., who has three older sisters, has never worked in public relations. He studied communications at San Diego State and had been a news writer at KCBS since 1997.

He said the biggest problem he anticipates in his new job is that reporters will have trouble quoting him quoting his boss.

"I guess they'll have to say, 'Parks Jr. said Parks said,' " the son said.

The new councilman and his son, who share a Dec. 7 birthday, are very close. Parks Jr. was by the chief's side last year during his battle with Mayor James K. Hahn for a second term, and moved into his parents' Windsor Hills home when his father rented a home a few blocks away in the 8th District.

Parks Jr.'s new job will give them even more time together. "I have a meeting with him later today, and then I have to drop off his laundry at cleaners," he said Thursday. "I think it's going to be a 24-hour gig."

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