Charmette Bonpua dies at 44; chief of staff to L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson

Times Staff Reports

Charmette Bonpua, chief of staff to Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson, died in Las Vegas on Sunday, a week after suffering an aneurysm on a family trip. She was 44.

Bonpua worked behind the scenes as a senior aide for some of the most powerful figures in California government. She was Wesson's chief of staff when he was speaker of the California Assembly. Before that, she served in the same capacity with Speaker Fabian Nuñez.

When voters sent Wesson to the City Council in 2005, Bonpua agreed to move south to staff his office.

She also worked for the state legislative analyst and the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, and she served as chief consultant for the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization.

She was chairwoman of the board of the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, which stages an annual leadership skills conference.

Born in 1965 in the Philippines, Bonpua immigrated with her family to California in 1981. She held a bachelor's degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara and a master's in public administration from Columbia University in New York City.

A celebration of her life will be held at noon Friday at Los Angeles City Hall.

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