Backer of L.A. Smoking Ban Loses

The man who wants to ban most outdoor smoking in Los Angeles lost his bid yesterday to become more powerful as a county supervisor in California's most populous jurisdiction. Bernard Parks, a Los Angeles councilman and former L.A. police chief, could not ride what many called "small issues" like the smoking ban to an electoral victory over term-limited state Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas. Ridley-Thomas won the race with 61 percent of the vote to Parks's 38.6 percent.

Money problems plagued Parks's efforts. Late in the campaign he tapped his council "discretionary account" for a spaghetti dinner to garner support.

The future of any smoking ban proposal is unclear, but not necessarily dead as a result of Parks's defeat. Ridley-Thomas received tobacco industry contributions for past state Senate campaigns.

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