Councilmember Heather Hutt and Council President Nury Martinez (Rickey Brown/L.A. Sentinel)

The President of the Los Angeles City Council is a position earned, not given.  On Friday, September 2, Council President Nury Martinez showed her off her political skills and navigated the complexities of the Los Angeles City Council as she delivered on her promise and her commitment to the residents of the 10th Council District by bringing home the votes required to give residents the “Voice and Vote” they had been lacking for more than 200 days.

Councilwoman Heather Hutt is no longer just the “caretaker” of the district, but was appointed by a vote of 12-2 as a full-fledged voting member of the Los Angeles City Council.  The appointment was originally introduced by Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and seconded by Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León, Paul Koretz, and Mitch O’Farrell.

“Today we made history,” said Council President Martinez” in a statement on Friday following the historic vote.  “The City Council confirmed the appointment of the first Black woman to represent the 10th District – a seat that was once held by Tom Bradley and a district that is central to Los Angeles’ story.

“I want to thank the dedicated residents of the 10th who came to Council, called, emailed, and sent letters demanding representation and telling me who you wanted to represent you. Heather is stepping up to serve the very community she grew up in and I have no doubt that she will make her community proud,” she stressed.

Hutt has a long history with the district, her grandparents moved to Leimert Park in 1926. She raised her family and currently lives in the Baldwin Vista area. She will be the first woman to represent the 10th District and the first woman to represent South Los Angeles in a decade.

A long career of public service, Hutt previously served as the state director for then-Senator Kamala Harris (now Vice President)  - the first Black state director in California’s history – and as district director for former State Senator Isadore Hall.

“I care deeply about this district, it is my home, and I cannot begin to describe how much I appreciate this opportunity to serve,” said Hutt. “Thank you to my neighbors throughout the district for supporting me. I will work hard. I will be diligent. I will be available. Nothing is too big and nothing is too small. As my prior bosses have told me, our jobs are for constituents. That’s why we’re here. And that’s what we’ll do – continue to serve.”

As previously reported by the Los Angeles Sentinel, Hutt has been a longtime community advocate, which has allowed her to develop strong relationships with civic leaders, non-profits, business owners and other elected officials on the local, state and federal government levels. In these positions she has been successful in building coalitions and working closely with groups in support of civil rights, economic equity, and social justice.

This support was made evident on Friday, Sept. 2, when coalitions and members of the 10th District representing African Americans, the Korean community, the Latino community, local clergy leaders as well as members and leaders from local labor unions, elected officials past and present, all packed City Hall in support of Hutt’s appointment.  Many with signs featuring slogans like “Heather Hutt Now,” “Black Women are Watching” and “Black Men are Watching, too.”

Hutt was appointed to fill the temporarily vacant seat left by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, who 10 months into his new term was suspended from office in October by the City Council by a vote of 10-4 after a 20-count indictment was filed in Los Angeles federal court for federal bribery and conspiracy charges stemming from his time serving on the County Board of Supervisors. Ridley-Thomas has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Hutt will serve as the appointee for as long as the temporary vacancy exists, unless Ridley-Thomas is acquitted or the charges against him are dismissed.

Hutt’s appointment comes from a groundswell of support from 10th District organizations including the Empowerment Congress West Area (ECWA) Neighborhood Development Council, Brotherhood Crusade, Crenshaw Manor Community Association, as well as backing from community leaders and residents from throughout Council District 10.

Hutt’s temporary appointment was originally supposed to have been voted on by the City Council on Tuesday, August 30, but the item failed to receive the 10 votes required for a public hearing.  Five council members voted against considering Hutt, whose nomination was referred to the Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee for further discussion.

But, Martinez and her colleagues were not dismayed from delivering to the residents of the 10th what they desperately wanted and needed which was a voting representative on the Los Angeles City Council.

“It’s unfortunate that we found ourselves here today where members voted against considering Heather Hutt’s appointment and, as a result, continue to deny over 260,000 people in this city a vote and a representative on the Los Angeles City Council,” said Martinez at the time.

“But as a woman of color, it’s all too familiar – I know the hurdles that we have to jump through to prove our qualifications again and again.

“Heather has earned my support because she has proven to me that she cares deeply about the district she grew up in, raised her children in and continues to live in, along with her 20+ year experience in public service. I am with her today and I will be with her tomorrow because the residents of Council District 10 deserve representation,” emphasized the council president.

That message was received loud and clear by the both the residents of the district and the members of the City Council, who just three days later, came together to acknowledge the hundreds of residents and business leaders who filled the Council Chambers to ensure that Heather Hutt was appointed “Interim” Councilmember with full voting authority for the city of Los Angeles 10th Council District.