The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously this week to appoint former Councilman Herb Wesson to represent the city’s 10th District as a replacement for Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended after being indicted in a federal corruption case.
Wesson previously represented the 10th District from 2005 to December 2020. He will hold the position again through Dec. 31 unless Ridley-Thomas is acquitted or the charges against him are dropped.
On Tuesday, several people called into the City Council meeting pushing for Wesson to be appointed to represent the district, noting that residents have not had a voting representative since Ridley-Thomas’ suspension on Oct. 20.
A woman who identified herself as Lillian Wilson, “a stakeholder in the district for 45-plus years,’’ urged the council to vote immediately to appoint Wesson, saying “we’ve been without representation for four months and we don’t want this to go on another six to 12 months, we need representation, we need a vote at the table.’’
Damien Goodmon, a board member for the Downtown Crenshaw Rising Project—a movement to buy the Crenshaw Mall and redevelop it for the Community—also called in to urge Wesson’s appointment, saying the district’s lack of representation has impacted progress on major issues. He added that Wesson’s appointment would “remain consistent with the precedent set by this council when Mitch Englander stepped down and the previous council member was put in Englander’s seat.’’
While some in the community have pushed for Wesson to be appointed to the seat, others have expressed the view that suspending Ridley-Thomas before a trial goes against the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Last week, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Southern California filed a lawsuit aimed at getting Ridley-Thomas reinstated to the City Council, alleging that “the decision to suspend (Ridley-Thomas) contravenes the bedrock presumption of innocence guaranteed under California law.’’