A Superior Court judge this week has again blocked Herb Wesson from acting as a temporary replacement for suspended Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, adding more confusion to the representation of the 10th District.
The ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel prevents Wesson from performing any council functions. The decision effectively blocks him from representing the district, although it did not formally remove his temporary appointment.
The ruling marked the second time Strobel has issued a restraining order against Wesson’s service on the council. On Feb. 24, Strobel sided with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Southern California’s challenge to Wesson’s appointment, issuing a temporary restraining order that blocked him from serving.
But she later vacated the order and declined to issue a preliminary injunction, saying that procedurally, the SCLC needed to obtain permission from the state Attorney General’s Office to proceed with its legal challenge.
As a result, Wesson began serving on the council in mid-March. Last month, however, the Attorney General’s Office cleared the way for the SCLC to proceed with its challenge, opining that there were legitimate questions about whether Wesson’s appointment was legal.
The SCLC contends that Wesson is “termed out” since he already represented the 10th District from 2005 through 2020, serving as council president from 2012 to 2020.
With the AG’s opinion in hand, SCLC attorneys filed papers Monday and went to court Tuesday seeking a new restraining order, which Strobel granted, effectively blocking Wesson again from serving on the council.
She set a hearing on a possible preliminary injunction for Aug. 16, so Wesson will be unable to perform any council functions until at least that date.
Attorneys for the city argued against the restraining order, saying in part that there was no urgency for such a ruling—as noted by the SCLC’s decision to wait roughly a month after the attorney general’s ruling to even seek an injunction. City attorneys also claimed that the restraining order would do nothing to address the SCLC’s primary allegation that the City Council had no authority to suspend Ridley-Thomas.
Ridley-Thomas was suspended from the council last October, following his federal indictment on corruption charges.