Herb Wesson

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Herb Wesson
Herb Wesson 2012 (cropped).jpg
Member of the Los Angeles City Council
from the 10th district
In office
July 1, 2005 – December 14, 2020
Preceded byMartin Ludlow
Succeeded byMark Ridley-Thomas
President of the Los Angeles City Council
In office
January 12, 2012 – January 5, 2020
Preceded byEric Garcetti
Succeeded byNury Martinez
65th Speaker of the California State Assembly
In office
February 6, 2002 – February 9, 2004
Preceded byRobert Hertzberg
Succeeded byFabian Núñez
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 47th district
In office
December 7, 1998 - November 30, 2004
Preceded byKevin Murray
Succeeded byKaren Bass
Personal details
Born (1951-11-11) November 11, 1951 (age 69)
Cleveland, Ohio
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
Alma materLincoln University (Pennsylvania)

Herman J. "Herb" Wesson Jr.[2] (born November 11, 1951) is an American politician who was the President of the Los Angeles City Council. He was the council member representing the 10th District from 2005 to 2020. Wesson was also Speaker of the California State Assembly.

Early life and career[edit]

Wesson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 11, 1951. He has one younger brother.

He received his undergraduate degree in history from Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) in 1999, where he was initiated as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Before his term in the California State Assembly, Wesson was the chief of staff of former Los Angeles City Council Member Nate Holden and in the same position for former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke. After being termed out of the Assembly, he became a senior adviser and special assistant to Burke.[3] He is a member of the Democratic Party.


Wesson and his wife, Fabian, have four children.[4][5][3]

State Assembly (1998–2004)[edit]

Wesson served in the California State Assembly, representing the 47th district from 1998 until 2004. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the California State Assembly in January 2002[6] and served in the role until February 2004.[7] He was the second African-American to be elected Speaker of the California Assembly. His legislative agenda focused on education, environmental protection and healthcare.[8]

City Council (2005–2020)[edit]

On November 8, 2005, Wesson was elected with almost 80% of the vote to represent the 10th Council District in the Los Angeles City Council, in a special election to fill the vacancy created when Martin Ludlow resigned.[9] The 10th Council District is located in central and South Los Angeles, and includes the neighborhoods of Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, West Adams, Jefferson Park, Wilshire Center, South Robertson, Arlington Heights, Leimert Park, Faircrest Heights, Gramercy Park and parts of Baldwin Hills.[10]

Wesson won a full term in March 2007 with 99.7% of the vote.[11] He was reelected in 2011 and again in 2015.[12]

Economic development[edit]

In July 2015 he created a committee to address how Los Angeles could be more business-friendly.[13]

Some of the developments in the 10th Council District during Wesson's term have been Midtown Crossing,[14] Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Medical Offices,[15] and Cumulus.[16]

Race relations[edit]

On October 20, 2016 Wesson announced the creation of embRACE L.A., a program to engage Angelenos in a conversation on race, ethnicity and diversity.[17] He partnered with Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell to create the program. On April 25, 2017 Wesson invited over 20 members of the community to dinner at his home to discuss embRACE L.A. and race in Los Angeles.[18]

Wesson announces the final approval of L.A.'s 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid.

Olympic bid[edit]

Wesson chaired the City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics. On January 25, 2017 he voted in favor of final approval of L.A.'s Host City Bid.[19] Following the news that L.A. would bid on the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wesson and the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the new proposal.[20] On September 13, 2017, Los Angeles was officially named as the host of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[21]


On December 19, 2016, the City Council created a $10 million fund to provide legal assistance for Los Angeles residents facing deportation [22]

On January 20, 2017, Wesson was part of the City Council action that approved the hiring of an "immigrant advocate".[23] On April 20, 2017 Peter Schey was appointed to the position.[24]

Wesson provides L.A. families computers at an OurCycle L.A. event.

In April 2017, Wesson welcomed a delegation of governors from Mexico to discuss the relationship between Los Angeles and Mexican states. He concluded the dialogue by making each member of the delegation an honorary citizen in the City of Los Angeles.[25]


On October 24, 2019 the Los Angeles Times wrote a story accusing Wesson's son of receiving discounts on his rent at an L.A. apartment building. Rent records showed that over the years, the building had increased rent for the nearly all of its tenants except Wesson's son. Separately, Herb Wesson had helped the building's owners win approval of a controversial high-rise.[26]

Community initiatives[edit]


Wesson with campers at Hansen Dam

Every year Wesson, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, treats approximately 150 children from disadvantaged communities to a camping trip at Hansen Dam.[27]

Movies in the park[edit]

Each summer Wesson hosts several screenings in the 10th Council District of various family-friendly flicks.[28] Dubbed "Movies in the Park", the series provides a fun and safe environment for all ages. In addition to the movie screenings, Wesson provides all attendees with a meal, drink, popcorn, candy and a raffle drawing. Each year, the series sees thousands of attendees across the four film screenings.

Winter Wonderland[edit]

Wesson's Winter Wonderland includes a tobogganing course made from real snow, holiday themed arts and crafts, lunch and an appearance from Santa Claus. Wesson also gives toys to all attendees and raffles off larger prizes such as bicycles. In December 2015 Wesson gave computers to 350 families.[29]

Post-Council career[edit]

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors election[edit]

In the 2020 election cycle, Wesson ran to succeed Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in the County's 2nd district.[30] State Senator Holly Mitchell defeated Wesson, earning just over 60% of the vote.[31]


  1. ^ "About". herbwesson.com. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Multiple records for Herman J Wesson} | Transparent California". transparentcalifornia.com. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  3. ^ a b Lucas, Greg (2002-01-10). "New Assembly speaker has silver tongue". SF Gate. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "African American Speakers of the California". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  5. ^ "Meet Herb Wesson".
  6. ^ Bustillo, Miguel (11 January 2002). "Assembly Chooses Wesson as Speaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  7. ^ Vogel, Nancy (9 January 2004). "L.A.'s Nunez Is Formally Chosen Assembly Speaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  8. ^ "Past Members | Legislative Black Caucus". blackcaucus.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  9. ^ "Our Campaigns – Los Angeles City Council District 10 Race – Nov 08, 2005". Ourcampaigns.com.
  10. ^ "Map of Council District 10" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Our Campaigns – Los Angeles City Council – District 10 Race – Mar 06, 2007". Ourcampaigns.com.
  12. ^ Zahniser, David; Saillant, Catherine (2015-03-04). "L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson comes out on top". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  13. ^ "How LA leaders plan to make the city more business-friendly". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  14. ^ Zahniser, David (2010-05-29). "L.A. City Council OKs $19.3-million loan for Midtown Crossing mall". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  15. ^ "Kaiser Permanente Announces Construction of New Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Medical Facility – Los Angeles Sentinel". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2015-10-21. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  16. ^ "Welcoming Councilmember Herb Wesson | The Valley Economic Alliance". www.thevalley.net. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  17. ^ "How embRACE LA plans to have an 'uncomfortable conversation' about diversity". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  18. ^ "Council President Wesson's leadership brings community together – Los Angeles Sentinel". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  19. ^ Wharton, David (2017-01-25). "City Council unanimous in final approval for L.A. to host 2024 Olympics". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  20. ^ "LA 2028: City Council gives green light to bring games to LA". ABC7 Los Angeles. 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  21. ^ Wharton, David (2017-09-13). "L.A. officially awarded 2028 Olympic Games". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  22. ^ Smith, Dakota; Carcamo, Cindy (2016-12-19). "Responding to Trump, L.A. proposes $10-million legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  23. ^ Smith, Dakota (2017-01-20). "L.A. City Council approves hiring an 'immigrant advocate' at City Hall". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  24. ^ "L.A. City Council appoints immigrant advocate – Park Labrea News/ Beverly Press". Park Labrea News/ Beverly Press. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  25. ^ "Trump deportation plans 'deeply' concerning to LA Council? 'Immigrant Advocate' – MyNewsLA.com". MyNewsLA.com. 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  26. ^ "L.A. councilman Wesson helped apartment executives while his son received rent break".
  27. ^ "WESSON'S CAMP FOR AT-RISK KIDS A GREAT ADVENTURE – Los Angeles Sentinel". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  28. ^ "WESSON ANNOUNCES FREE SUMMER "MOVIES IN THE PARK" – Los Angeles Sentinel". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  29. ^ "Wesson Provides 350 Deserving Families with Computers this Holiday Season – Los Angeles Sentinel". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  30. ^ admin. "Herb Wesson For Supervisor". Herb Wesson For Supervisor. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  31. ^ The Los Angeles Times on Yahoo! News - "L.A. County makes history with all female Board of Supervisors"

External links[edit]