IS WESSON UP TO SPEED FOR HIS FIRST SERIOUS LOS ANGELES ELECTION RACE?

OCT19wessonwebIn 2004 when Council President Herb Wesson was termed out of his seat in the California State Assembly, his timing could not have been better. In 2005 Council District 10 lost their City Hall representative when Martin Ludlow resigned. Without any serious contenders, Wesson easily slipped into his new job with 90% of the vote. After completing the rest of Ludlow's term, he won a full term in 2007 with 80% of the vote and handily won re-election in 2011 and 2015. Only one problem...he never faced any serious opposition. It is almost impossible to unseat an incumbent candidate and those who chose to try, did not have the money nor the experience to mount any serious opposition. The only exception was lawyer and community activist Grace Yoo (running for the position again in the next election). She spent a third of the money on the 2015 campaign that Wesson spent and got half the votes he got. That year also saw the  number of votes for him fall from the previous election.

His bid to run for County Supervisor in the March 2020 election will be a different kind of race for him. Although to date he has raised the combined contributions of all the other candidates, he is up against some formidable opposition -- "two experienced African-American women have emerged as candidates, impacting Wesson’s polling numbers in this traditionally black district.  Both former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry and State Senator Holly Mitchell are very qualified, have name recognition, and have a cadre of loyal supporters,"  according to CITYWATCH.COM

CITYWATCH has kindly given permission to reprint their article identifying some of the reasons why Council President Wesson might be having second thoughts.

Originally printed April1, 2019
Reprinted here with permission from Citywatch.com

Wesson to Drop Out of Supervisor’s Race?
JACK HUMPHREVILLE

LA WATCHDOG--When Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson announced in December that he was entering the race to succeed termed out County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, he was considered to be the “instant front runner” because of his name recognition, political connections, and ability to raise campaign funds, especially from real estate developers and public sector unions.

But since that time, his polling numbers dropped precipitously.  This has caused Wesson to seriously consider dropping out of the race, a position supported by his family given his age (67), his health, and skeletons in the closet.

Underlying this downtrend is the pay-to-play corruption scandal involving Los Angeles City Hall that has occurred under Wesson’s watch. In November, the FBI raided the home and offices of Jose Huizar, a close ally of Wesson.  And then in January, The Times disclosed that Wesson’s chief of staff and others were the subject of a search warrant “seeking information on bribery, extortion, and other possible crimes.”  Wesson has also been identified as a witness in the on going investigation.

At the same time, two experienced African-American women have emerged as candidates, impacting Wesson’s polling numbers in this traditionally black district.  Both former Los Angeles City Councilwomen Jan Perry and State Senator Holly Mitchell are very qualified, have name recognition, and have a cadre of loyal supporters.

Wesson is also having issues with the Latino community who outnumber African-American residents in Supervisor District Two.  According to sources, Supervisor Hilda Solis has refused to endorse Wesson because she believes that a Latino would better represent and serve the community.  This is also true for other local Latino politicians, including Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, and members of the State Assembly, the State Senate, and the Los Angeles City Council.

Wesson has not earned the endorsement of the four women Supervisors who want an all women County Board of Supervisors.  They are concerned that his back room, arm twisting power politics will be disruptive.  They also have issues with his overly favorable treatment of Councilman Jose Huizar when he was sued by his former chief of staff with whom he was having an extra marital affair.   

Despite his full court press, Wesson was unable to obtain the endorsement of Mark Ridley-Thomas because of the significant push back from supporters of Perry and Mitchell.  Furthermore, the four women Supervisors delivered an ultimatum to MRT not to endorse Wesson.

Wesson’s family is also concerned about his age and health as he has had several scares in the recent years.  There are also issues about nepotism and the inappropriate use of City services as well as the family’s finances, including outstanding credit card debt, threatened foreclosures, the non-payment of bills, and other financial issues that are rumored to be festering.

Maybe it is time for Herb to hang up his cleats in November of 2020, serve as a high paid consultant to the real estate industry and public sector unions, enjoy his bourbon on the rocks (Pappy Van Winkle being his favorite), and enjoy his grandchildren.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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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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