Residents of Mar Vista and Del Rey have a new supervisor, and his name is Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Ridley-Thomas, a state senator, won the seat of the retiring Yvonne Brathwaite Burke on election night by besting Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks in the race for supervisor for the Second District.
Ridley-Thomas received 250,198 votes, or 61 percent, and Parks took 157,294, or 38 percent.
At a celebration at the Century Plaza Hotel, Ridley-Thomas thanked his many supporters as he basked in the glow of victory.
“We want to thank them for what they’ve done to make the County of Los Angeles a better county,” he said. “Anybody that’s gotten the mistaken impression that I’m going to back up on my allies, they’ve got the wrong supervisor that they’ve elected.”
The senator becomes the first African-American man to win a seat on the Board of Supervisors and the second African-American to become a member of the powerful board, which oversees an annual budget of $22 billion.
Councilman Parks, a former Los Angeles police chief, could not compete financially with the well-funded Ridley-Thomas, who also secured the backing of prominent local leaders such as Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and statewide figures, including Assembly Speaker Karen Bass of Culver City.
Parks won the support of several business groups throughout the city, as well as basketball superstar turned entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The district includes Mar Vista, Del Rey and parts of Playa del Rey.
Chris Nevil, the president of the Del Rey Homeowners and Neighbors Association, is hopeful that the new supervisor-elect will keep Del Rey on his radar screen.
“We tend to be overlooked sometimes, so I hope we can look forward to more attention from Mr. Ridley-Thomas,” said Nevil.
Both the candidates came to Del Rey last month to address Nevil’s association, where the audience engaged the two on topics such as transportation, healthcare and the county’s financial state.
One area of interest for Del Rey that Nevil hopes will improve is more open space and recreational spaces, which Ridley-Thomas has championed during his earlier tenure as a city councilman in Los Angeles and as a state senator.
“He’s been a big supporter of open space, and my hope is that he will continue to be sensitive to the lack of recreational space that exists on the Westside,” said Nevil, an American Youth Soccer Organization referee.
Andrew Bessette, who heads the Marina Boaters Association, feels that it doesn’t matter who won the election.
“I really don’t think that it will make any difference at all,” Bessette said.
He and other boat owners have complained that county officials have long ignored their pleas, and they feel that even with the election of Ridley-Thomas, the status quo will remain.
“We have no hope,” Bessette lamented.
Ridley-Thomas will join the board at a time when the county, like most levels of government around the state, are operating at a deficit and are facing not only serious financial concerns but also infrastructure, healthcare and public safety challenges as well.
The new supervisor will also have big shoes to fill as he replaces Burke, who served on the board for 16 years and endorsed his rival.
MEASURE R — A mass transportation measure that was backed by the four members of the Board of Supervisors, Measure R, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, passed by a wide margin, 67.4 percent of the vote. The ballot measure will fund light rail and bus projects in the county through a half-cent sales tax.