Herb Wesson takes charge as first Black president of the Los Angeles City Council
WESSON TAKES HELM OF LA CITY COUNCIL
As a political pioneer in the state legislature, as the second Black assembly speaker, Herb Wesson has now taken charge as the city’s first Black city council president.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
Last Tuesday, newly-elected council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr., today took the helm of the Los Angeles City Council, presiding over the first council meeting of his tenure as President.
Elected unanimously by his colleagues in November 2011, Wesson becomes the first African American in the history of Los Angeles to become President of the City Council.
“It’s about breaking down barriers,” said Wesson. “Breaking down barriers is not so much about me as it is about the next generation. Our youth need to be aware that there is no obstacle to their advancement, and I am blessed to have the strong support of my colleagues in helping guide our city forward.”
As President of the City Council, Wesson will become Acting Mayor when ever Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa travels outside the City of Los Angeles.
He succeeds Councilmember Eric Garcetti, who has served as Council President since December 2005. Garcetti is stepping down to become a candidate for Mayor.
“I appreciate Eric’s service as Council President, said Wesson. “His leadership played an important role in keeping our city solvent during the economic downturn, and we’re not out of danger. The most important challenges we’ll face this year will relate to how we can reinvent the way we deliver vital services and live within the confines of our budget. Working together, I believe that we can successfully confront those challenges.”
Joining Wesson in the Council’s new leadership are Councilmember Ed Reyes (1st District), who will become Council President Pro Tempore; and Councilmember Tom La Bonge (4th District), who will become Assistant Council President Pro Tempore. Both are senior members of the City Council, serving their 3rd terms.
First elected to the City Council in a November 2005 special election, Wesson has been reelected to the Council by wide margins in 2007, and 2011.
As president of the city council, Wesson will still be providing quality service to the constituents of the 10 th district and will also still be chairing and having jurisdictions over several committees.
On the City Council, Wesson Chairs the Rules and Elections Committee, which has jurisdiction over the City Ethics Commission, the Elections Division of the City Clerk, and the Ballot Simplification Committee. This committee also has jurisdiction over Council rules and policies, scheduling ballot measures and other city election and campaign practices, and the U.S. Census and redistricting. He is also a member of the Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee, the Arts, Parks and Neighborhoods Committee, and the Intergovernmental Relations Committee
Prior to his election to the City Council, Wesson represented the 47th District in the California State Assembly from 1998 until 2004, when term limits ended his service. While serving in the Assembly, his colleagues elected him the 65th Speaker of the Assembly, and the second African American to hold that post.
Wesson earned a B.A. in History at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He is married to Fabian Wesson and they have four sons.