EDITOR’S NOTE: City Council President Herb Wesson in his desperate play for power and favor has set off a firestorm of controversy in nearly every part of the city by engineering a puppet Redistricting Commission that has drawn new City Council boundaries intended to preserve the power of a failing political machine for the next 10 years. Nowhere is the outrage greater than it is in South L.A. where Wesson’s abuse of the African-American community has brought up ugly references to “Uncle Tom.” In this article, Gloria Zurveen, publsher and editor-in-chief for more than 15 years of PACE NEWS takes Wesson to task. For another view of the damage Wesson has done the social fabric read the story in the LA Weekly of the courageous Helen Kim who gave voice to the anger of the Korean community as a member of the Redistricting Commision.
“While the black appointees were highly visible, they were, for the most part, powerless. And their powerless visibility in and around the bureaucratic councils added an aura of legitimacy to illegitimate acts, providing a smokescreen for dirty dealings.” — Samuel Yette Author of “The Choice”
By Gloria Zurveen, PACE NEWS
Coming from the deep south and growing up among many older generations who never got a chance to vote because of the overt racism, Jim Crowism, segregation and even death threats for trying to exercise their Constitutional right, the above quote by Samuel Yette speaks volume about the aura of legitimacy to illegitimate acts I am witnessing regarding the drawing of City Council Districts in Los Angeles.
And the most unsettling of it all is that I am witnessing it being perpetrated by an African American, Herb Wesson Jr., the lauded and applauded, first African
American President of the Los Angeles City Council.
Whoop-dee-doo! Now let’s move on. Yes, it is so unsettling that Wesson, with all the pros and cons from the public during community meetings to redraw district lines, has willfully neglected to hear the voices of the people. According to Council member Jan Perry whose district will be sorely affected by the redrawn lines, “The opportunity to elect the representatives of their choice and ensure that their interests are protected is paramount to the effectiveness of City government.”
Effectiveness of City government doesn’t appear to be of paramount importance to Wesson, since it is he, who is leading the charge and rushing to have the council approve the redrawn maps. Although there continues to be much dissent and opposition to what has been finalized by the Redistricting Commission, the Los Angeles City Council has chosen March 16, less than two weeks, to vote and make it a done deal.
However, according to reliable sources, “It is not a done deal.” The people have the power to stand against this injustice. There are many who are not for the dirty dealings going on in this City government today, especially when it comes to the district lines being redrawn. Even President Barack Obama has said, “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.”
Perry was so fed up with the lack of transparency and objectivity of the redistricting process that she put forth a motion during the February 29, 2012 Rules Elections & Inter-governmental Relations Committee which is chaired by Wesson that said, “The purpose of redistricting should be about the need of district communities to remain on the path of economic growth and progress. It should not result in differential treatment, misguided or cynical moves, or that it should not be legally questionable.”
Is it because if it is not done sooner rather than later, the snakish behavior of dirty dealings will be found out? I am referring to the behavior that the Downtown
News depicts as back-door dealing, violating the Brown Act, grabbing for power and grabbing for land. It is a shame that the people put the power in the hands
of politicians like Wesson, hoping and praying they would do the right thing and yet do not.
Wesson, I believe is so busy jockeying for power that he has become a puppet and a pawn at the expense of the community at large and African Americans specifically.
Now, more than ever, it is the people who has to take a stand and fight for their communities before it is too late. Like the rap artist Chili Most said in his popular video, “We Have To Fight, Fight for Our Rights”, the people must stand up and fight from their rights by telling Wesson that they will not allow thisrush to do injustice to the people for the sake of your thrills and dirty deals.