ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The Board of Supervisors held a super-sneaky Special Closed Session meeting on Monday morning at 10:30 am. The board normally meets on Tuesdays.
The first public commenter wondered what to make of the skimpy labeling — the only item CS-1 was identified as a Department Head Performance Evaluation, but nowhere was that department specified. And then, this:
Smart Speaker: Thank you, Supervisors. I know this is a Department Head Performance Evaluation and I’m hoping it’s Dean Logan, the Registrar Recorder and County Clerk, RR/CC. Hi, Dean!
Of course, the heart goes out to Mark Ridley-Thomas. It’s very sad. But MRT was suspended from City Council in 2021 and the city council is on recess now, and not scheduled to meet again until April 11.
I want to propose that the city conduct a CD10 election, a Special election. It’s the only appropriate thing to do, because Heather Hutt, who has been in the CD10 seat for a while, and Paul Krekorian, the current council president is trying to cement her to that chair on the 11th. Ms. Hutt has previously announced her intention to run for a full term in the 2024 election.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: Eric, I don’t think. I think you are supposed to be speaking on—
Smart Speaker: I am, I’m talking about the Department Head Performance Evaluation.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: No, you’re talking about an election.
Smart Speaker: Because the department head is Dean. Dean Logan!
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: Oh, I see.
Smart Speaker: Yeah. Dean Logan.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: I get it. I get it.
Smart Speaker: Let me finish my comments because they are important and they’re accurate, it’s not—
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: We’ll give you a couple more… we’ll give you some extra time.
Smart Speaker: Yeah, okay, I appreciate that. The point is that because Heather Hutt who everyone admires, is running for office, she can’t sit in the office as an incumbent for a year — it’s a big advantage.
So, I think that the City and County have to come together… it will cost some money to call, order, and conduct a Special Election to fill the vacancy in the Office of the City Council, 10th District. The estimated cost to the City is $3.1M (including both City and RR/CC costs).
This is the cost of democracy. It takes 150 days to get a Special Election going because there are some requirements, but there is also a moral duty. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable put it the way, “The council has a duty to return representative government to the 10th District — not through an appointee it chooses but a special election that allows the residents — not the City Council — to have a full and total say in who should represent them.”
So let’s conduct an election and allow the many voices of City Council District 10, who have been suffering in a variety of ways — to choose their leader.
We can’t go backward. We must go forward and Heather Hutt can certainly run too — fair and square. I mean, she still has a lot of advantages, because she is so charming and powerful —
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: Ok.
Smart Speaker: But you get my point?
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: Thank you.
Smart Speaker: To do anything else is inappropriate and the Board of Supervisors has to take some leadership here.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair: I believe it’s a stretch, but thank you, Eric.
Smart Speaker: It’s not a stretch at all. Heather Hutt was temporarily appointed by the council to the seat in September 2022. Prior to that, she was serving as caretaker while former Councilman Herb Wesson — who was originally appointed by Martinez to fill in during Ridley-Thomas’ suspension — was legally blocked and had to resign because of term-limit issues.
The Council President Paul Krekorian should be an authority on the charter but remember he served at the pleasure of both Herb Wesson and Nury Martinez, precisely the folk who chose Hutt. Though he ran the Budget Committee and served for both of them on the legal claim board, he is no longer licensed to practice law and should simply put, remove his thumb from the proverbial scale.
We need to follow the memo written by David Michaelson, who wrote the City Attorney’s Election document prior to jumping over to head up the legal squad in the Office of Mayor Karen Bass.
(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions expressed by Eric Preven are solely his and not the opinions of CityWatch)