L.A. Councilman Herb Wesson resigns as temporary fill-in for indicted Mark Ridley-Thomas
Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson resigned from his position as an interim replacement for indicted Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas on Thursday, days after a judge barred him from carrying out his duties at City Hall.
Wesson, in a letter to the City Council, said he was grateful to have been appointed to represent the 10th District, which stretches from Koreatown to Leimert Park in South Los Angeles. He also argued that district residents deserve “a voting voice.”
“They have been put into this situation through no fault of their own,” he said. “The community needs representation and it is my hope that there will be little to no delay in providing that to them.”
The 10th District has been enveloped in political drama for much of the last year.
Months later, the council voted unanimously to make Wesson his interim replacement, over the objections of critics who said Wesson had already served three terms and was therefore ineligible to return. Wesson fired the district’s caretaker — a longtime Ridley-Thomas aide — and appointed Heather Hutt, a former aide to Vice President Kamala Harris during her time in the Senate, as his chief of staff.
Ultimately, it’s Council President Martinez who is most at fault for what has gone wrong in the 10th District since Mark Ridley-Thomas was suspended.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California filed a lawsuit challenging Wesson’s appointment. On Monday, a judge sided with the group, issuing a preliminary injunction barring Wesson from performing his duties until Oct. 19, when a trial was scheduled over his eligibility to serve.
Trial in the Ridley-Thomas case is set for mid-November. Meanwhile, Ridley-Thomas is suing the city over City Controller Ron Galperin’s decision to cut off his pay and benefits.
In recent days, some neighborhood leaders have argued that the council should appoint Hutt, who was selected to be the district’s nonvoting caretaker last month, after a different judge issued a temporary order barring Wesson from the post.
Others in the district have urged the council to carry out a more extensive search, saying the first selection process was not inclusive or transparent.
Hutt did not respond to an inquiry from The Times about whether she wants to become the district’s temporary voting representative. Council President Nury Martinez, who appointed Hutt as the district’s caretaker, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether Hutt should fill the post.
On Thursday evening, 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 he always does — with kindness, respect, and determination,” she said.
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