L.A. City Council elects first Black president
Jan Perry and Bernard Parks absent for vote
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The City Council today unanimously elected Councilman Herb Wesson to be the panel’s first Black president.
Councilman Ed Reyes was chosen to serve as president pro tempore. Both will assume their new posts Jan. 2.
The council chamber was packed with hundreds high-ranking city officials, council staffers and relatives of the members to witness the historic vote. But notably absent were the two other Black council members—Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, who have clashed with Wesson in recent weeks over redistricting and the behind-the-scenes process leading to Wesson’s nomination.
Wesson said he was “disappointed” with their absence.
“Life goes on,” he said.
“This presidency is not about me. It’s about we. It’s about us,” Wesson said in a chorus he repeated throughout a 15-minute speech accepting the position. “Be assured I will lead. The question is will you lead with me, and the answer is yes, because I know that you can.”
Wesson said his presidency would be focused on leading the city out of “financial darkness and bring it back into the light.”
He said critics would be asking, “Can the city council reinvent itself and provide the kind of leadership this city needs?”
“I’m going to steal a phrase from the president. Yes we can,” Wesson said.
His election was greeted by a standing ovation in the crowded chamber.
Wesson will take over the presidency from Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor.
The position of president pro tem, the No. 2-ranking official on the council, became open Nov. 4 when Perry resigned out of “disgust” with what she described as behind-the-scenes maneuvering over redistricting and the council presidency. Perry is also running for mayor.
Wesson, who represents the mid-city area and parts of Koreatown, was elected to the council in 2005 and served in the Assembly from 1998-2004 and was its Speaker from 2002-2004.
Reyes has been a council member since 2001.
Wesson, 60, described the day as “practically perfect,” saying it could only be better with the presence of his mother, who died last summer.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also a former Assembly Speaker, praised Wesson’s selection.
“I’ve known Herb for 20 years. I couldn’t be prouder of him,” the mayor said. “I look forward to working together to take on the challenges this city’s facing.”
By Richie Duchon | City News Service
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Assemblyman Gil Cedillo said today he will run for the 1st District seat on the Los Angeles City Council.
“Growing up here, I learned from a very early age that Los Angeles was a city of opportunities for anyone who had a dream of living a better life for themselves and their families,” Cedillo said. “I am announcing my candidacy for City Council District 1 because we need bold and experienced leadership to strengthen and protect the 'Los Angeles Dream.”’
Los Angeles police say two suspects have been arrested for the murder of 5-year-old Aaron Shannon, and are being held without bail. Leonard Hall Jr., 21, was taken into custody today (Friday) about at 2:10 a.m. at an apartment in the 200 block of West. 27th Str. Marcus Denson, 18, was arrested Thursday evening by Sheriff’s deputies in the 1100 block of East 83rd Street. Law enforcement officials say both suspects are active gang members.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Councilman Richard Alarcon walked out of a Los Angeles City Council meeting today, preventing his colleagues from voting on $18 million to fund the construction of permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless.
The City Council needed 10 members present to vote, but with Alarcon refusing to return, there were only nine members present. Councilman Paul Krekorian later withdrew the motion. By that point, many of the other council members had already packed up their belongings to leave.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Without discussion, a Los Angeles City Council committee today approved a motion calling on the city’s three pension fund managers to divest from companies involved in the production, sale or marketing of assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The proposal was introduced earlier this month by Councilwoman Jan Perry, who said the city needs to respond to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children were killed.
The first thing on Herb J. Wesson’s agenda after his swearing-in as president on Jan. 3, could be whipping the Los Angeles City Council into shape, although those are not his words. Actually, what he wants to do is make the Council “run more smoothly—no multiple issues on the agenda, no lengthy debates and just work on streamlining things and making it more effective.”