- Written by Rick Orlov
20 Dec 2011
CITY HALL - With the council in recess until Jan. 3, (new City Council President Herb) Wesson is using the time to talk to his colleagues and prepare for some changes in committee assignments.
Most vulnerable is Councilman Bernard Parks, who has chaired the Budget and Finance Committee since 2003, and has been credited with steering the city toward a balanced budget during these years of economic uncertainty.
Wesson is not discussing his plans, but those close to him say he remains upset that Parks and Councilwoman Jan Perry, the two other African-American members of the council, were absent the day he was elected as president. Also, neither have called to offer congratulations since.
"During these times, you want the council president to have a close relationship with the chair of the budget committee," one aide said.
The city Redistricting Commission has begun its first round of public hearings, even as it continues to have problems over hiring of staff to help with community outreach.
Its first efforts to hire political consultants ran into problems with the City Council; the person hired, Vanessa Rodriguez, stepped down when concerns were raised about her working for a firm that lobbied City Council members.
Last week, the commission hired a public relations consultant, Daniella Masterson, for the job.
"I am a little surprised at all the controversy," said Arturo Vargas, president of the commission and a member of a similar redistricting panel 10 years ago. "We didn't have any of this then. Perhaps it's because people are more aware of the importance now and officials are playing more hardball."
Vargas said he is not concerned that the effort has been tainted by any controversy.
"We are doing everything in the open and will continue to do so," Vargas said. "Everything we do will be done where everyone can see what we do."
Vargas said the initial public hearings have drawn upwards of 100 people, which also shows the public interest in what the panel is doing.
Most of the testimony has featured complaints about how some communities have been divided and calls to be placed in one district.
For example, in the San Fernando Valley, the Lake View Terrace community complained about being split in two as have residents of the Lake Balboa area. (The rest of Rick Orlov column here)
Tags: Herb Wesson, Bernard Parks, City Council, redistricting
Vol 9 Issue 101
Pub: Dec 20, 2011