February 19, 2015


Staff and Wire Report 


Herb Wesson serves as the president of the Los Angeles City Council.  As the leader of the city council he serves all of Los Angeles but he is also the councilman for District 10, a diverse community very much a microcosm of Los Angeles as a whole.


Wesson’s City Council District (10) encompasses a wide array of culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods. The district stretches from Jefferson Park to Koreatown in the Northeast and includes several thriving points of interest such as the Crenshaw Boulevard commercial corridor as well as the oil drilling sites in West Adams and Jefferson Park.


Today, this prosperous district is home to an increasingly mixed community of African Americans, Latinos, as well as Asian Americans, Jews, and Anglos. Wesson currently presides over this diverse population. Since he was elected to City Council in 2005, Wesson has worked tirelessly to respond to the needs of his constituents and deliver results for his community. He is a strong leader who commands the respect of his peers and the loyalty of a broad coalition of Los Angeles-based voters.


The Los Angeles Times which recently endorsed Wesson’s bid for re-election stated, “Wesson serves as City Council president — one of the most powerful in recent years. He says he is ‘the glue’ holding that body together, but to achieve such a high level of cohesion, he rules with a strong arm, rounding up the yes votes he needs and, critics say, occasionally punishing those who dissent. He's a bit of an operator, a wily and pragmatic leader of the council- but has proved his ability to get things done, for better or, occasionally, worse”.


The endorsement also came with criticism of Wesson “that he hasn’t articulated much of a vision for the city” which Wesson quickly responds.  “That’s the job of the mayor to articulate the vision for the city, my job is to move the agenda of the council to keep the city moving forward as a whole and insure that everyone and every district has a voice at the table”.


Wesson grew up in a working class family, where his parents taught him the importance of hard work and dedication. While he was initially unable to complete his education due to an extended family emergency, in 1999, he overcame tremendous odds and completed his BA in history.


In 1998, Wesson successfully ran for public office and was elected to represent the 47th State Assembly District. Excelling in his role as Assemblymember, his colleagues recognized his potential and unanimously elected Wesson as the 65th Speaker of the California State Assembly. It marked a milestone for the African American community; Wesson was not only the first Black Assembly Speaker to be elected unanimously, but was also the first Black Speaker from Southern California and the second Black Speaker to ever be elected to the State Assembly.


After Wesson termed out in 2004, he ran for LA City Council and was elected to represent the 10th District in 2005. Due to his impeccable record in office and his reputation as being a problem-solver, Wesson was reelected by wide margins in 2007 and 2011. While in office, he has worked to reduce crime, eliminate discrimination, and unite his diverse constituency.


Although Wesson effectively represents all members in his district, he has taken special care to improve the conditions within the African American community. In 2006, he organized Project SAVE, a gang prevention initiative that funneled money into after-school activities, in the hopes of improving the quality and increasing the number of activities that are available to students of all ages.


In 2008, he helped establish a tutoring program that connected UCLA scholars with students from Hamilton High School; LAUSD later expanded this program to include other schools in the area.


Wesson has shown an uncanny ability to lead without alienation.  While critics say he is too controlling, others like State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon see Wesson as a man who is able to bring together diverse groups for the good of all. 


“As a former Assembly Speaker and current President of the City Council, Herb Wesson has a long track record of getting things done for Angelenos,” he said. 


Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton also see’s Wesson’s leadership skills as positive and as a benefit to the city overall. “Herb Wesson has the wisdom and compassion to understand the needs of his constituents and the knowledge and skills to make things happen. I am honored to join him in his quest to improve the quality of life for all,” said Horton.


Since Wesson was elected to Council in 2005, they have invested billions in economic development and public infrastructure and created nearly 6,000 new jobs in the 10th Council District.


Specifically, Wesson has built approximately 700 units of affordable family housing, with 200 more in the pipeline for District 10 alone.  He has invested over $10 million in the renovation of the historic Vision Theater in Leimert Park Village, invested approximately $100 million in parks and open space, and constructed and completed Phase One of the Exposition Light Rail Line.


These public works projects have provided and will continue to provide thousands of jobs for LA residents, and aims to reduce air pollution by decreasing the number of automobiles on the road and creating more open, green spaces.


Los Angeles, as a whole, has made great strides under Wesson’s leadership. That is why the Los Angeles Sentinel fully endorses Herb Wesson for City Council. He has proven himself to be a dynamic leader that not only follows through on his campaign promises, but also helps the council operate as efficiently as possible. Wesson’s keen leadership skills, political prowess, and years of experience in public service make him the most logical choice for District 10.

Category: News