Herb Wesson for Supervisor?? Why You Might Want to Read this First.

FEB20wessonwebFIRST SOME BACKGROUND ON THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:

According to Wikipedia, "In 1852, the Legislature created a five-member Board of Supervisors. In 1913 the citizens of Los Angeles County approved a charter recommended by a board of freeholders, which gave the County greater freedom to govern itself within the framework of state law.

As the population expanded throughout the twentieth century, Los Angeles County did not subdivide into separate counties or increase the number of supervisors as its population soared. As a result, the concentration of local administrative power in each county supervisor is high with the population of the county at ten million residents. Each supervisor represents more than two million people. A local nickname some use for the Board is the "five little kings."

FROM THE LA TIMES SEPT. 6, 2013

"Seats on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are among the most coveted, safe and powerful local elected positions in the nation. The five current members have served a total of nearly 100 years, bolstering criticism that the board has been short on accountability.

'There's really no checks and balances,' said Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro), whose father served on the panel for four decades and whose family name adorns the county's giant Hall of Administration where the board convenes. 'They create laws, they execute laws and sometimes they even sit in judgment of their own laws.'

"The benefits are considerable. Each supervisor is allotted $3 million a year for staff, cars, office expenses and pet projects, on top of a supervisors $179,000 annual salary (a little less than the $189,000 Councilperson's salary). Supervisors make decisions on law enforcement, healthcare delivery, food safety regulation, taxes and land development that can affect a population larger than that of all but seven states. They spend $25 billion a year in public money, often with little oversight."

A $3,000,000 a year expense account including money for "pet projects"!!?? $179,000 salary!! And best of all....

No oversight!! You can bet your sweet bippy Wesson wants THAT job. Well here are some good reasons why you might think twice before putting a check next to his name.

KEPT GOING INTO DEBT

First and foremost is the stunning mismanagement of his own funds. Despite earning more than $189,000 as a councilmember and receiving between $10,000 and $100,000 a year from rental property, the man can’t seem to pay his bills on time, often finding himself in default hell.

From The Los Angeles Times Aug 2016:

“Council members earn more than $189,000 annually. In financial disclosure forms, Wesson has reported receiving between $10,000 and $100,000 per year in income from his rental property.

“He is considered, at a minimum, the second-most powerful politician at Los Angeles City Hall. He wields huge authority over the city’s $8.8-billion budget, which governs spending on police, firefighters and an array of services.

“Yet in his private life, Council President Herb Wesson has struggled with a considerably more mundane set of issues: paying the bills on time.

"Wesson’s colleagues elected him president in November 2011. The week of that vote, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk recorded a default notice against Wesson’s rental property in Ladera Heights, saying he owed $14,746 on that four-bedroom house.

"The notice was rescinded in February 2012. A second default notice arrived in December 2013, saying the Wessons had not paid their mortgage and county property taxes on the Ladera Heights rental for 4½ months. Five months later, the county filed notice of a scheduled auction.

By then, a separate default notice had been filed on the Wessons’ Mid-City residence, a two-story Spanish Colonial Revival built in 1923. The notice said the Wessons owed $33,580.

Both default notices were rescinded in 2014. But trouble reared up again in January, when the county recorded another default notice on the Wesson home. The notice said the Wessons were 5½ months behind and owed $33,248.

The Wessons again paid off the balance and the notice was rescinded in March. But around the same time, the county filed another default notice over the [fully occupied]rental house. That property was scheduled for a trustee’s sale on July 6. It was canceled that same week, according to county records.”

In 2018, while he funded a lavish wedding for his son at Wilshire Ebel, according to the Guss Report on CityWatch, the Wessons were in continual mortgage default, and welshing on credit card debt that appears to date back to 2016, begging the question: who is it that paid for the wedding, or were they given free services as a de facto fundraiser for the Council President’s anticipated Mayoral campaign? The fancy seating chart and vendor list silently speak volumes."

“Oh, and by-the-way, since security at the Wesson wedding was provided by the Los Angeles Police Department, when were the taxpayers of Los Angeles reimbursed for that expense? Or does the LAPD provide taxpayer funded security for the private parties of children of the politician who holds sway over how much money cops make in LA?"

Based on his salary, no kids at home (all with cushy city jobs), wife works…where the heck was he spending his money if he’s not paying his mortgage and credit card payments on time? Mystery unsolved.

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD:

LYING TO CITY OFFICIALS AND THE COMMUNITY

One of the first things Wesson did when he became our CD10 representative was attempt to clean up the Western Heights community-dividing controversy over the illegal installation of road/traffic barriers, a mess his predecessor Martin Ludlow left behind.

Although there were shenanigans too numerous to go into here (you can read about it on the TNN website under Eye on Wesson) one incident in particular should raise an eyebrow or two. In a records request to his office and the Fire Department, emails were uncovered that showed Wesson’s office lied when asked by a fire captain if they had any sign-off permissions from the Fire Department.  “Yes we do,” the Department was assured.  Yet a records request for all documents and correspondence related to the installation did not result in the handing over of said “sign off.” (There were also no sign-offs from the Police Department, critical to the installation of traffic obstructing barriers.) Wesson’s office finally admitted they “did not have it.” So, Wesson's office lied to the Fire Department, lied to the community and Ludlow lied to the City Council who voted for the barriers, by implying they had met all legal requirements. They hadn't.  Years later when they were about to be sued they had to go back and do a do-over. Clearly Wesson and Ludlow used their power to get what they wanted regardless of whether or not it was legal.  Big red flag.

UNRETURNED PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS

Wesson’s office was notorious for their lack of response to constituents in our neck of CD10. It was a complaint heard repeatedly throughout the community and echoed by the people running against him in previous district elections. Other than responding to favored residents or taking on big ticket projects like confronting McMoran Oil or addressing the overwhelming anger of residents affected by the FAA’s NextGen airplane noise problem, he rarely seemed that interested in getting down in the weeds of our community.  Just look at his website and click to his "Initiatives" page. That should tell you a lot. In the over 10 years he has represented our community, that page focuses on big ticket City issues he addressed as president of the city council but when it comes to the District he has been in charge of for 12 years there is nothing but toy giveaways…movies in the park, bike giveaways, Camp Wesson, Winter Wonderland. And that’s about it for community initiatives.

BROKEN PROMISES

TNN did a continuous follow-up on the efforts of the 16th Pl. community as they attempted to hold Wesson accountable to his initial promise of helping them when their million-dollar views were devastated by a development the city and the developer had assured them would not be obstructed. After initially ignoring them Wesson finally agreed to a series of actions including looking into having their property taxes re-evaluated. During a one-year period, the residents sent over 90 emails reminding Wesson of his promise. All of them unanswered by Council President Wesson.  He eventually met with them shortly before his next election cycle and only after prodding from the TNN editor.  He was finally willing to get the illegal billboards which had been blaring into the living rooms of the residents for months, removed, but the initial promises remained ignored.

BUSINESSES NEGLECTED

New and old businesses complained that efforts to assist them were often ignored as they struggled to get off the ground or maintain.  Wesson didn’t hold one meeting with them or create a business forum or appoint a business deputy to engage and assist the businesses in his district.  Pico Blvd. struggled for years, but all they got from the city were notices to keep their banners and clothes racks or furniture wares off the street. They had to wait for help from a Garcetti initiative called Great Streets. In one investigation by TNN, it was discovered that one of Wesson’s deputies allegedly regularly called for donations from Koreatown businesses that had been treated as a cash cow by CD10 councilmen for decades.  We found that at least a third of the donations coming to his office ended with the last name Kim, even though Koreans represented a small percentage of the total district. This information was verified when it exploded during the redistricting of CD10 where Korean activists, advocating for a separation of Koreatown from CD10, showed up at a community redistricting forum accusing Councilmen Wesson’s office of constantly demanding "donations" from Korean businesses. They waved a letter allegedly written by one of the businesses to the Council Office pleading for the practice to stop. The business claimed they hadn’t written the letter but the frustration in the community toward CD10 officials was very real.

Wesson is a clearly talented power player but then so is Donald Trump. We deserve representatives who don’t lie, manipulate, take revenge against people who don’t “go along” (as he did with Jan Perry and Bernard Parks when they didn’t vote for his presidency) insult and be rude to people he disagrees with as he did with former mayor Richard Riordan when Riordan spoke at open mike in  support of an initiative that was coming up.  There are better candidates for this job.

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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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