The answer is simple enough: Andrew Westall, for six years assistant chief deputy aide to City Council President Herb Wesson before being anointed as executive director of the puppet City Redistricting Commission despite the objection of Councilman Bernard Parks.
Parks’ complaint was that Westall — who boasts on LinkedIn about expertise in a wide range of public policy issues with specialties in “Policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation; Political campaign strategy and execution” — perjured himself in a lawsuit growing out of the former police chief’s 2008 campaign for LA County Supervisor, City News Service reported back in November.
“Westall was working for Parks’ campaign in 2008 when he and campaign manager Herb Wesson III — the councilman’s son — arranged $60,000 in automated campaign calls to potential voters. Parks, whose campaign was in debt at the time, was sued by Call Center Services, Inc. for not paying bills for the calls.
“Westall testified in the lawsuit that Parks approved the contract. Parks denied giving Westall and Wesson III final approval and that the two were not authorized to sign off on purchases of more than $500.
“Subsequent to losing that lawsuit early this year, a man who described himself as a friend of Westall’s for 14 years provided written testimony that he had knowledge suggesting Westall lied about the incident under oath.”
Parks’ has appealed to reopen the lawsuit but the City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s office ruled the lawsuit issue did not pose a conflict for Westall, according to Commission President Arturo Vargas, an appointee of the mayor who has made sure that proposed lines for the Parks’ 8th District and Jan Perry’s 9th District strip the incumbents of key areas and even put their homes in other districts.
Wesson personally took it a step further by ousting Parks from the Budget Committee where he was the only fiscally responsible member and Perry of the DWP oversight committee where she stood in the way of outrageous and unjustified rate hikes..
O what a tangled web of deceit Wesson is weaving with one clear goal: To prevent any possibility of the failed City Hall political machine losing power for the next decade by gerrymandering the districts for the benefit of the labor-developer-contractor-special interest cabal.
Wesson — best known for his love of stray pets, his humor and the irrelevance of his comments on matters of great public importance — was put into the Council presidency on the orders of LA County labor boss Maria Elena Durazo who threatened to politically knee-cap anyone who challenged him.
Parks and Perry boycotted the meeting where he was unanimously elected president — a role he has used viciously to punish them and others and reward the likes of Tom LaBonge, Ed Reyes, Jose Huizar and Paul Krekorian with more important positions and favorable districts.
The Redistricting Commission is a farce in almost every way.
Vargas, who is given to sneering at Helen Kim, the most articulate commissioner in pointing out the phoniness of the process, is executive director of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and regarded as a “nationally recognized expert in Latino demographic trends, electoral participation, voting rights, the Census, and redistricting.”
Clearly, with nearly half the city’s population, Latinos are entitled to have more than three districts favorable to them and whites with less than a third far fewer than they now have. Asians also should have a seat favorable to them which is why the Korean community — bilked and betrayed by Wesson and his team for so long — are so outspoken.
Blacks with three seats are over-represented, and appear likely to lose at least one of them in coming elections if the districts Wesson is pushing go through — something that would inevitably make him a racial Benedict Arnold.
The ever-clever Simone Wilson at the LA Weekly has captured the essence of what Wesson has done for his own 10th District (and others with similar cartoons):
“… Wesson is no pushover. He’s really set the tone, during this redistricting mess, for how he plans to run the city as new council president: with an iron fist and no tolerance for wussies … After a series of contentious land grabs by Wesson’s appointed redistricting commissioner, the king’s new City Council District 10 has gone from an unassuming puddle of Thanksgiving gravy to a the main course: A fat turkey that could feed a lifetime of election campaigns.
Go down through the list of commissioners and you can see just how sinister this is: Former Cardenas chief of staff Jose Cornejo, fired Huizar campaign strategist Mike Trujillo and various political staffers and wannabe Council members.
The process was so ugly from the start that Perry resigned her Council leadership position in protest and accuses Wesson of engaging in “economic apartheid” against the people of South LA by stripping downtown from her district.
“Wesson’s appointee on the redistricting panel, working with representatives of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilman Jose Huizar, formed a voting bloc with several other commissioners,” the LA Times David Zahniser reports today, with regard to the nine-hour meeting Wednesday when the cabal crushed all opposition in creating Council districts that make it all but pointless for anyone to run who isn’t a stooge for the machine.
This is all as anti-democratic as anything LA has ever seen and that is saying a lot since this town that has rarely known anything that resembled democracy because of the near total political domination by narrow selfish elites of one sort or another.
Ordinary folks can bitch and moan and pack the hall Saturday when the revised maps are revealed less than two weeks before the commission’s final vote. But until the people of this city come together into a single unified force power will remain in the hands of the few and not the money.
The only issue in this town is POWER — and you don’t have any unless you are owned by the machine.