First Black woman to oversee the programs and projects impacting residents of the 10th District
Council President Nury Martinez officially designated Heather Hutt as the Caretaker for Council District 10 on July 20. Martinez made the appointment following the temporary restraining order issued by Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel on July 19, which temporarily prevents Councilmember Herb Wesson from serving as the district representative.
In a letter informing Hutt of the new title, Martinez wrote, “In accordance with past practices to address interim vacancies on the City Council, I am designating you as the Caretaker for the Tenth Council District pending seating of a Councilmember to fill the vacancy, or should Mr. [Mark] Ridley-Thomas be reinstated.”
The council president emphasized that her actions were “intended to assure the residents of the Tenth Council District that they will not be without an individual they can turn to until they are once again directly represented by a Councilmember.”
Hutt, who currently serves as chief of staff, also resides in the 10th District and is intimately familiar with the issues and concerns of the constituents. As a longtime community advocate, she has also developed strong relationships with civic leaders, business owners and other elected officials on the local, state and federal government levels.
Previously, she served as the state director for then-Senator Kamala Harris – the first Black in this position in California’s history – and as district director for former State Senator Isadore Hall. Both positions allowed Hutt to build coalitions and work closely with diverse groups in support of civil rights, economic equity and social justice for all people.
Community members were supportive of Hutt’s selection, especially in light of the fact that she is a qualified Black woman overseeing a district that has traditionally been represented by an African American for more than 60 years.
“Heather Hutt will make an excellent interim caretaker for the residents of CD 10. She is a seasoned professional in the areas of community and political affairs, business, and constituent services. Her experience and leadership skills are exceptional,” said Valerie Lynne Shaw, a Leimert Park resident and former City of Los Angeles. Commissioner.
Jacqueline Dupont-Walker, a CD 10 resident and longtime civic leader, added, “Thank you, Heather Hutt, for stepping out and standing up for your neighbors. Given that more than 250,000 residents have no vote at the L.A. City Council, it is critical to have a caretaker who is a resident or business stakeholder, knows the legacy and history, has experience in public administration/ governance and knows the vision long held for and by the 10th district,” she said. “However, even with that strong foundation, nothing replaces the voice and vote in the ‘horseshoe’ – It is our right!”
The lack a voting member on the L.A. City Council continues to be an unsettling issue for many constituents in CD 10, according to Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, whose office is located in the district.
“Of course, we are all happy about Heather’s appointment because she knows the district and as a resident, is heavily invested in its future. But, we can’t lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to have a voting representative on City Council,” Bakewell said. “The people of the 10th District will not be satisfied until that goal is attained.”
In the role of Caretaker, Hutt will be responsible ensuring the effective and efficient operations of the CD 10 City Hall and field offices. Her duties will include overseeing response to constituent inquiries and requests, managing budgetary matters affecting the district and directing administrative personnel and tasks.
Should Hutt encounter “any unusual problems or anything requiring special actions to resolve,” Martinez’s letter instructs Hutt discuss potential solutions and obtain the approval of the council president prior to taking final action.
The office of Council District 10 released the following statement in response to Strobel’s action: “While we are disappointed in Tuesday’s ruling, we are proud of the work we’ve done under the leadership of Councilmember Wesson. From voting on this year’s budget which includes expanding homeless services and securing a dedicated tree trimming crew for our district to opening the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex, this team kept pushing this district forward in our fight for equity in the City of Los Angeles.
“The CD10 team will continue our work of serving the people of the 10th District. Please continue to reach out to our District and City Hall Offices with your constituent requests.”