Herb Wesson Appointed to Temporarily Represent 10th District  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Herb Wesson (photo courtesy)

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to appoint former councilor Herb Wesson to represent the city’s 10th district as deputy councilor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was removed after being charged in a federal corruption case.

Wesson will take office until December 31, unless Ridley-Thomas is acquitted or the charges against him are dropped.

“With more than 30 years of civil service representing the residents of District 10 of the Council, there is currently no better choice than former council member Herb Wesson,” Council President Nuri Martinez said after announcing his proposal to appoint Wesson to Wednesday.

“Mr Wesson cares deeply about the communities he represents and knows the area better than anyone else. District 10 voters need a voting member who understands their community to represent them in the Chamber. “

Wesson is excluded from seeking elections to the city council, as he represented the 10th district from 2005 to December 2020. He was also president of the council before Martinez, from 2012 to 2020.

Councilor Mike Bonin tried to postpone the vote on the appointment until the city council received a detailed report on the full range of available scenarios, including a public report from the city prosecutor on eligibility requirements for potential appointments and a report from the city prosecutor, city official and chief legislative analyst. on the steps, costs and legality of holding special elections for residents of District 10 of the Council to elect a temporary member of the Council.

Bonin’s amendment to receive the reports was adopted by the council on Tuesday, but an amendment to postpone the vote by one week until one vote was received and received after the reports were received. The vote to appoint Wesson as interim deputy was adopted unanimously.

On Tuesday, several people called a meeting of the City Council, demanding that Wesson be appointed to represent the district, noting that residents did not have a representative with the right to vote after the removal of Ridley-Thomas on October 20.

A woman who identified herself as Lillian Wilson, “a stakeholder in the field for more than 45 years”, called on the City Council to vote immediately on Wesson’s appointment, saying we have been without representation for four months and do not want it to continue for another six months. 12 months, we need representation, we need a table vote. “

Damien Goodman, who is a board member of the Downtown Crenshaw Rising project – a movement to buy the Crenshaw mall and renovate it for the community – also called to urge Wesson’s appointment, saying the lack of representation in the area has affected progress on key issues. He added that Wesson’s appointment “would remain in line with the precedent set by the council when Mitch Inglander resigned and the previous council member was replaced by England”.

Former councilor Greig Smith, who represented Council District 12 from 2003 to 2011, represented the county again from January to August 2019, after Inglander vacated the post in December 2018 to take over the Oak View Group, a global consultant for sports and entertainment, development and investment company. Smith was eligible for another term on the city council at the time after choosing not to run for a third term.

While some in the community have demanded that Wesson be appointed to the post, others have suggested that removing Ridley-Thomas from the city council before a trial runs counter to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

On Friday, the Conference of Southern Christian Leaders in Southern California filed a lawsuit to restore Ridley-Thomas to the city council, arguing that “the decision to suspend (Ridley-Thomas) runs counter to the basic presumption of innocence guaranteed by California law.” . Ridley-Thomas was the executive director of the head of the Greater Los Angeles organization from 1981-1991.

Pastor William Smart, president of the SCLC in Southern California, told City News Service on Friday afternoon that his position was that the removal of Ridley-Thomas was “morally wrong, politically indefensible and clearly illegal.”

“We will not accept that we are forced by unelected people as a community … we work, as SCLC, in the 10th district, and I live in the 10th district. We believe that the councilor was removed and we want him to regain his post, “he said. In a statement to the City News Service last week, Ridley-Thomas’ lawyer, Michael Procter, opposed Wesson’s appointment, calling it “premature” and “anti-democratic.”

“From day one, Mark Ridley-Thomas has vowed to continue to serve District 10 voters. The council president’s ‘process’ is devoid of transparency, inclusion or voter input. In this way, these voters are deprived of their primary constitutional rights of representation. Mark Ridley-Thomas is concerned about these voters – and an appointed representative indebted to Nuri Martinez does not allow this refusal to represent. “

The 10th district is being monitored by non-voting official Carly Cato. The Ridley-Thomas Municipal Suspension Council vote was held with three members of the opposition council: Councilor Marquis Harris-Dawson, Councilor Mike Bonin and Councilor Kieran Price. Price said before the vote that his office was flooded with calls for support for Ridley-Thomas from residents of South Los Angeles.

The trial against Ridley-Thomas and former dean of the USC School of Social Work, Marilyn Flynn, is tentatively scheduled to begin on August 9. The defendants are charged with a 20-count indictment alleging a secret deal in which Ridley-Thomas – when he was a member of the county board of trustees – agreed to direct the county’s money to the university in exchange for accepting his son Sebastian. Ridley-Thomas in high school with a scholarship for full education and a paid professorship.

Flynn is said to have arranged for a $ 100,000 donation from the Ridley-Thomas campaign through the university to a non-profit organization run by his son, a former member of the Assembly. The donation sparked an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, which remains open, prosecutors said.

In return, the indictment alleges, Ridley-Thomas backed county contracts involving the School of Social Work, including lucrative deals to provide services to the county’s Department of Child and Family Services and Probation, and amending a contract with the Department of Mental Health. which will bring the school millions of dollars in new revenue. Both defendants categorically denied any wrongdoing and promised that the evidence would clear their names.

Herb Wesson Appointed to Temporarily Represent 10th District  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Herb Wesson Appointed to Temporarily Represent 10th District  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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