Thu, Jun

Did LA Council President Wesson Vote Illegally for More than 11 Years?


@THE GUSS REPORT-According to voter registration records, Herb Wesson, the current Los Angeles City Council president, may have voted illegally for up to 11½ years between November 1993 and June 2005 by providing false address information -- and confirming that false information -- each time he voted. Whether the LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s Public Integrity Division gives him a James Comey/Hillary Clinton free pass remains to be seen.

As shown in my recent CityWatch article, Wesson could not have done this by mistake because during that entire time he was in close proximity to, or at the seat of, the pinnacle of local political power where voting rules are an entry-level subject. This includes being Chief of Staff to LA County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, Chief of Staff to LA City Councilmember Nate Holden, a member of the California State Assembly, and the CA Assembly’s Speaker, directly overseeing voting redistricting for the entire state.

As the DA looks into the evidence, given Wesson’s propensity to mislead, there is another thing they should simultaneously investigate: Did Wesson actually live where he claimed to live on his 2005 LA City Council campaign documents and throughout his first term on City Council? Again, public records cast doubt on Wesson’s claims. The DA needs to dig deeply into his personal records to determine the truth … just like they did when they investigated and charged Wesson’s former colleagues Roderick Wright and Richard Alarcon for their residency lies. 

At the end of my September 19 article, the cliffhanger was how Wesson scrambled to establish residency within the City of Los Angeles when, in 2005, LA City Councilmember Martin Ludlow abruptly decided to vacate that position just two years into his first term.

NOTE: For aficionados of California’s incestuous political environment, according to Wikipedia, in 2002, Ludlow was a Wesson staffer in Sacramento; he was Antonio Villaraigosa’s Chief of Staff prior to that, leading more than a few to believe that Ludlow was just a placeholder on the LA City Council until Wesson finished his term as Assembly Speaker. Talk about a stacked deck! When Ludlow ran for LA City Council, he beat Wesson’s present day Chief of Staff Deron Williams. The Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals should take note. 

And we pick up the story from there … 

With Ludlow’s “sudden” decision to leave LA City Council in 2005 (for a union leadership job that he gave up shortly thereafter when charged with a felony,) a special election to replace him was scheduled for November 8, 2005. Because the first day for candidates to file paperwork to run for that office was July 22, 2005, candidates were required by law to be a resident of Council District 10 no later than 30 days prior to that, or June 22, 2005. 

On June 2, 2005, the always nattily attired Wesson changed his voter registration address from his home at 5230 Bedford Avenue in an affluent unincorporated part of LA County (i.e. outside of the City of Los Angeles) to 3914 W. Adams Blvd, a multi-unit building with bars on the windows in a high-crime neighborhood within the Council District 10 in which he had to quickly establish residency. But Wesson was never at any time registered to vote at what he claimed was his prior address on Bedford Avenue. This necessarily means that Wesson either lied when voting from 1993 to 2005 or lied on his June 2, 2005 voter registration…or both. 

Now let’s follow Wesson’s bouncing-ball-of-sudden-address-changes…. 

  • June 13, 2005 - The LA County Registrar-Recorder/LA County Clerk stamped as official Wesson’s new voter registration at the West Adams Boulevard address.

Did Wesson actually live there and do the things that establish a domicile like turning on the utilities, changing the address on his payroll, medical and car insurance records? Did he change his address with the United States Postal Service? While only the District Attorney can subpoena those records, this much we do know: His wife Fabian did not change her address to the W. Adams Boulevard address, raising the question of whether anyone named Wesson ever lived there at all. 

The reason why Wesson used that address is simple: He was unable to (legally) raise funds to run for LA City Council until he lived within the District 10. That is why on: 

  • June 16, 2005 - Wesson signed, under penalty of perjury, his LA City Ethics documents declaring his intent to run for Ludlow’s vacant District 10 seat and that he resided at the W. Adams Boulevard address, which is located within it. Wesson signed them that morning and were received and stamped by the City’s Ethics Commission at 11:37am. 

But just six days later -- you read that right -- Wesson changed his address again. 

  • June 22, 2005 - Wesson changed his voter registration from W. Adams Boulevard to another address within District 10, 1022 S. Citrus Avenue, an address to which his wife Fabian’s voter registration was simultaneously changed at 1:15pm. 

So if Fabian Wesson’s voter registration was changed simultaneously with Herb’s to the S. Citrus Avenue address on June 22, 2005, why was it not simultaneously changed 10 days earlier when he claimed, on June 13, 2005, that he resided at the W. Adams Boulevard address? It’s because he only needed to establish his residency within District 10, not hers. The million dollar legal question is: Did Herb Wesson establish a domicile on W. Adams Boulevard during that handful of days? 

According to the California Secretary of State, a “‘domicile’ is defined as the place where you live, where your habitation is fixed, and where you intend to remain and return to whenever you are absent from it. (Elections Code sections 321, 349, 2020-2034).” 

Wesson signed under penalty of perjury on both his June 2, 2005 voter registration form and his multiple June 16, 2005 Los Angeles City Ethics campaign forms that he resided at 3914 W. Adams Boulevard, an address to which his wife did not change her address, and an address which he abandoned just six days later. 

Common sense dictates that Wesson did nothing to establish a bonafide domicile at the W. Adams Boulevard address. It is absolutely necessary for the District Attorney – or the FBI – to subpoena all related records and find out the truth, and just how long the Wessons lived at their subsequently claimed domicile on S. Citrus Avenue too. They both claimed to reside there from June 22, 2005 through March 7, 2008 (Herb) and April 3, 2008 (Fabian) respectively. The smart money says he (and therefore she) lived back on Bedford Avenue, outside of the City of Los Angeles, at least part of the time -- a crime if proven true since officials must live within the community they represent.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a contributor to CityWatchLA, Huffington Post and KFI AM-640. He blogs on humane issues at http://ericgarcetti.blogspot.com/. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport.   His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of CityWatchLA.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.



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