WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--With the March primary election rapidly approaching, the stakes are high in the race for a rare open seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Until now, it has been a largely civil affair, with L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson the perceived front-runner to replace term-limited Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. But the gloves are finally starting to come off.
In recent weeks, Wesson and his top rivals, state Sen. Holly Mitchell and former City Council member Jan Perry, have been embroiled in a dispute over the Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s endorsement of Wesson.
“What we think happened is that Herb Wesson tried to win by cheating,” said Eric Hacopian, a consultant for Perry. “They tried to game the system when they didn’t have the votes.”
At issue is the way the party’s Dec. 10 vote was conducted at United Teachers Los Angeles headquarters in Koreatown. The process is usually swift and occurs without controversy, following candidate recommendations from a party committee. In this case, however, the committee was a vote short of a consensus to recommend Wesson. That prompted a floor vote, in which Wesson won the endorsement by one vote.
Scores of voting members and alternate members from the party, as well as nonvoting Democratic activists and campaign staffers, crowded into the conference room as the ballots were cast. The chaos and close tally led to questions by the Perry and Mitchell campaigns.