Wesson had previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, spot on his resume he shares with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Bizarrely, even though the selection of Wesson to replace outgoing City Council President Eric Garcetti was technically unanimous, the two other Black members of the Council, Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, were not present.
Wesson's election was necessary because Garcetti and Perry have already announced they are running for the open Mayoral seat which must be vacated by Villaraigosa in Spring 2013.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson made municipal history Wednesday [November 16], with his colleagues agreeing unanimously to make him the council's first African American president.
That vote may appear in the history books with an asterisk. Wesson's two black colleagues, both of whom have had strained relations with him in recent weeks, did not show up — providing the only no-shows during the vote.
Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who for days refused to say whether he would back Wesson, called in sick Wednesday morning. Councilwoman Jan Perry received permission for an excused absence. But when called by The Times, she would not say where she needed to be during the council meeting.Congratulations to Council President Wesson!