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L.A. redistricting panel offers top job to councilman's aide

October 27, 2011 | 12:00 pm

Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

The 21-member panel charged with redrawing boundaries for 15 Los Angeles City Council districts voted unanimously to offer its top post to an aide to Councilman Herb Wesson, officials said Thursday.

After a discussion in a closed session, the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission agreed to begin negotiations with Andrew Westall, a Wesson aide who specializes in demographics and economic development, for the job of executive director.

In an e-mail, Westall confirmed that an offer had been made but said he could not discuss the matter further because he was still negotiating compensation.

One government watchdog questioned the choice of Westall, saying Wesson could easily benefit from having his high-level aide redrawing his district's boundaries.

"I don't think it's a legal issue, but it is a perception issue," said Robert Stern, former head of the now-closed Center for Governmental Studies. "Who does he owe his loyalties to?

"My guess is that Wesson would come first," Stern added.

Westall, 38, was technical director a decade ago for a previous L.A. city redistricting commission, as well as for a Los Angeles Unified School District redistricting panel. He has worked for Wesson at the city and state level and advised former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg.

John Wickham, a legislative analyst who advises the commission, would not discuss Westall’s selection, saying only that the group had selected a candidate and would make an offer.

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— David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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