Los Angeles residents in Council District 10 have been without a voting member for 314 days.
Today’s action by the council was to move forward with a discussion and full vote on appointing Heather Hutt as the temporary voting member for Council District 10 while the incumbent fights a 21 count federal indictment.
Five members of the council voted against moving the item forward: Bob Blumenfield, Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Nithya Raman, Monica Rodriguez,
Bonin and Raman have both faced recalls from their own supporters and Harris-Dawson is a lap dog for Mark Ridley-Thomas and Karen Bass who he appears to be speaking on behalf of.
I am more taken aback by the lack of support from the women on the council than Harris-Dawson because we know his non-vote is due to Bass not getting the VP appointment over Hutt’s former boss Kamala Harris.
Raman understands the power of a Black woman considering her chief of staff is, but Rodriguez on the other hand, doesn’t employ a single Black person in her office.
The community has spoken through its Neighborhood Council whose sole purpose is to be the eyes and ears of the district and work with the elected member to ensure the community’s voice was heard.
314 days later the district is still without a voting member.
Kevin de Leon read from the city charter Article 4, Section 409 which addresses how the council can address vacancies.
409. Filling Vacancies in the Offices of Mayor, City Attorney, Controller and Member of the City Council. Vacancies in the offices of Mayor, City Attorney, Controller and members of the City Council shall be filled by appointment or election in the manner set forth in this section.
But because many of the council, including the Times, wants a more community oriented process, the item failed to move forward after the final vote tallied 9-5. The nomination will be referred to the Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Wednesday for further discussion.
The Ridley-Thomas loyalists are hurting this community by leaving a Council District that is 49% Latino and 24% Black disenfranchised is racism at its finest. But this is par for the course when millions of dollars are on the line and the voting member having the power to steer those resources is Politics 101.
In short, the majority of the council who voted against Hutt’s appointment look just like the people being left without representation.
At at time where women are voting in record numbers and all but decided the 2020 presidential election, now is not the time to falter. Women need to be divided more than ever and sadly Nithya Raman and Monica Rodriguez didn’t get the memo.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist who appears weekly in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper.