Herb Wesson resigns his post as a temporary L.A. councilman

Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson resigned Thursday from his position as interim replacement for indicted Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, days after a judge barred him from performing his City Hall duties.

Wesson said in a letter to the city council that he was grateful to be appointed to represent the 10th District, which stretches from Koreatown to Leimert Park in south Los Angeles. He also argued that the district’s residents deserve “a vote in the vote.”

“They got into this situation through no fault of their own,” he said. “The community needs representation and I hope there will be little to no delay in providing it.”

The 10th Ward has been shrouded in political drama for much of the past year.

Ridley-Thomas was suspended by his peers in October after a grand jury indicted him on bribery, conspiracy and fraud charges. He pleaded not guilty.

Months later, the council voted unanimously to make Wesson his interim replacement, despite objections from critics who said Wesson had already served three terms and was therefore ineligible to return. Wesson fired the district’s caretaker — a longtime assistant to Ridley-Thomas — and appointed Heather Hutt, a former assistant to Vice President Kamala Harris while she was in the Senate, as his chief of staff.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California filed a lawsuit challenging Wesson’s appointment. On Monday, a judge sided with the group and issued an injunction barring Wesson from performing his duties until Oct. 19, when a court hearing about his fitness for duty was scheduled.

The trial in the Ridley-Thomas case is scheduled for mid-November. Meanwhile, Ridley-Thomas is suing the city over City Controller Ron Galperin’s decision to cut his salary and benefits.

In recent days, some neighborhood leaders have argued that the council should appoint Hutt, who was elected the district’s non-voting caretaker last month after another judge issued an injunction barring Wesson from the post.

Others in the district have called on the council to conduct a more comprehensive search, saying the initial selection process was not comprehensive or transparent.

Hutt did not respond to a request from The Times to become the district’s interim voting representative. Council President Nury Martinez, who had appointed Hutt as administrator of the district, did not immediately respond to a request for Hutt to fill the post.

On Thursday night, Martinez issued a statement thanking Wesson for his work.

“It’s not easy stepping into a new office and taking the helm, but he did it as always – with kindness, respect and determination,” she said.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-25/los-angeles-councilman-herb-wesson-resigns-as-temporary-fill-in Herb Wesson resigns his post as a temporary L.A. councilman

Alley Einstein

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