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Friday, April 19, 2024

LA City Council to decide whether to appoint Heather Hutt to the 10th District council seat

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The Los Angeles City Council will vote on the motion on April 11 to reappoint Heather Hutt, the current acting councilwoman, to Council District 10 seat vacated by the Mark Ridley-Thomas’ (MRT) conviction for federal corruption charges on March 30.

City Council President Paul Krekorian and some council members made public earlier that they would approve the reappointment of Hutt shortly after MRT’s guilty verdict.

If the council vote for the reappointment, it would effectively make Hutt, who was appointed last October, a non-elected councilwoman for more than two years, and no special election will be held.

Hutt declared her candidacy for District 10 last month and launched her campaign.

While the council is scheduled to vote on the proposal at today’s meeting, Korean Americans plan to voice their displeasure with the council’s decision in the public hearing session before the voting.

“The question is whether there was a ‘proper public input process’ before holding an election or running a candidate race,” said one of the people who will be speaking at the council meeting at 9:30 a.m. “This kind of self-righteousness and one-way decision-making is completely unacceptable and sets a shameful precedent.”

“At the end of the day, we can’t afford to be silent and give in to the abuses of power. Even the smallest voice must be heard,” said Grace Yoo, a Korean-American lawyer who will run for District 10 seat.

The East Area Progressive Democrats (EAPD), a Democratic organization which has been advocating for progressive policies in the 10th District, also released a statement on April 10.

“We are shocked and disappointed by the mayor’s decision. It is hypocritical and undemocratic for the City Council, which should be restoring basic sovereignty to the people of the 10th District, to appoint its own council members,” said EAPD in the statement.

Of the 13 current councilmembers, Monica Rodriguez (District 7) is the only one to publicly oppose Heather’s reappointment, while Councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez (District 1) and Hugo Soto-Martinez (District 13), both known for their progressive leanings, are expected to vote in favor of the decision.

The Sentinel newspaper, a major black community media outlet, argued that the city should “save money and keep Hutt on the council, where she can vote on behalf of the black community.” However, the media remained silent on the unfairness of Hutt’s declaration of candidacy as an appointee and the protection of District 10 voters’ right to elect.

The population of District 10 is currently 46% Latino, 20% black, 18% Asian, and 12% white.

“If we’re going to have a temporary appointment to a vacant seat, we need to create a system that allows community leaders to decide independently, not the councilmembers, so that there’s no suspicion of unfairness,” said Loyola Marymount University professor Fernando Guerra.

When we asked Korean Americans online for their opinions on the 10th District election, 55 out of 107 respondents (51%) said, “In principle, we should hold a special election, but there are no good candidates for the Korean community.”

BY CHOI IN-SEONG [support@koreadaily.com]