L.A. Council President Proposes Heather Hutt Represent District 10

She had been serving as District 10’s non-voting caretaker and the chief of staff for Herb Wesson, appointed interim councilman in place of indicted Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas
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One day after Herb Wesson’s resignation as interim representative of the 10th District, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez filed a motion proposing the appointment of Heather Hutt Friday to serve as a fill-in council member for the district.

Hutt had been serving as the district’s non-voting caretaker and the chief of staff for Wesson, who was appointed interim councilman in place of indicted Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas. Wesson resigned Thursday, three days after a judge issued a preliminary injunction continuing to bar him from performing any official duties in response to a lawsuit challenging his eligibility.

Martinez’s nomination of Hutt was made as a motion Friday, seconded by Councilmen Gil Cedillo, Paul Koretz, Mitch O’Farrell and Kevin de León. If confirmed by the full council, Hutt will be the first woman to represent the district and the first woman to represent South Los Angeles in a decade. She would also become the fourth woman on the 15-member council, and just the third Black councilwoman in the city’s history.

“Leadership is stepping up during a challenging time,” Martinez said. “That is what Heather Hutt has done as caretaker and what I know she will do as the council member for the 10th District.”

Hutt would serve as council member through the end of Ridley-Thomas’ term, unless Ridley-Thomas is acquitted or the charges against him are dismissed. Ridley-Thomas was suspended from the council last October, following his federal indictment on corruption charges.

Since July 19, the district has not had voting representation on the council because caretakers cannot act as a voting member of the council.

Hutt was born and raised in the district, which stretches from Koreatown to Leimert Park in South Los Angeles. She lives in Baldwin Vista.

Hutt previously served as the first Black State Director in California history under then-Sen. Kamala Harris. She was also a district director for former state Sen. Isadore Hall.

“I’ve spent my whole life in public service, working on behalf of my neighbors and helping them with their needs,” Hutt said. “It’s important they have a voice in the horseshoe, but it’s equally important that their day-to- day, way of life needs are met as well.”

According to her office, Martinez proposed the appointment of Hutt rather than call for a special election to fill the vacancy because of the possibility of a conflict if Ridley-Thomas was cleared of the charges before his term was completed but after residents had elected another council member.

“Throughout her career, Heather Hutt has proven her commitment and dedication to public service,” de León said in a statement. “Heather possesses tremendous skills and talents that can deliver the strong leadership that Council District 10 needs and deserves.”

In a separate motion Friday, Council members Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Monica Rodriguez called for the council to consider a “full range of available scenarios” on how to proceed with filling the vacant seat. They sought a report on the eligibility requirements for potential appointments the council could make to fill the temporary vacancy in 60 days. They also asked for a report on the costs and legality of a special election in the 10th District, as well as a process for selecting a voting representative that “includes public input from constituents and civic institutions of the district.”

The motion stated that the council should “thoroughly, transparently and expeditiously explore all options to make sure” District 10 has full representation, including a voting member. The motion asked for a “detailed, public discussion” of the possible scenarios.

“The process of filling the current vacancy must be open, clear, transparent and engage the residents of the district,” Bonin wrote on Twitter.

In a letter Thursday to the City Council obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Wesson said he was grateful to have been appointed to represent the 10th District and argued that residents of the district deserve “a voting voice.”

The motion to appoint Wesson as a temporary replacement was unanimously approved by the council on Feb. 22. Wesson was supposed to hold the position through Dec. 31 unless Ridley-Thomas was acquitted or the charges against him were dropped. Wesson initially represented the 10th District from 2005 through 2020, serving as council president from 2012 to 2020.

During Friday’s council meeting, a speaker who identified herself as Diana Dean said that not having a council representative for District 10 has been problematic. Dean was part of ACCE Action, a housing group that testified during public comment about conditions at the Chesapeake Apartments in South L.A.

“She’s like our babysitter because she’s not allowed to vote,” Dean said of Hutt. “I think they forgot about District 10 because our community is ugly, filthy, dirty. Because there’s nobody there. We just have a babysitter but we have nobody to represent us.”

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