L.A. Councilwoman Jan Perry resigning leadership post
The No. 2-ranking official on the Los Angeles City Council said Thursday she is resigning from her leadership post, partly out of unhappiness with what she described as behind-the-scenes maneuvering over redistricting and the council presidency.
Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has been the council's president pro tempore since 2009, said she was troubled by "private" talks that have taken place over replacing Councilman Eric Garcetti as president.
She also suggested that new boundary lines for the council's 15 districts are already being redrawn in secret, even though a 21-member commission has been charged with doing that job in public.
"There are allegations that maps have already been drawn and seen before the executive director position was even filled" for the council's Redistricting Commission, she said in an interview.
Perry, who represents downtown and part of South Los Angeles, will remain on the City Council. She laid out her views in a letter sent to her colleagues Thursday night.
"In recent months, I have felt that we have drifted away from the kind of openness and frank discussion that has characterized this council, especially as it pertains to the future of council leadership, the council as an institution, and the future design for council districts," said Perry, a longtime Garcetti ally who is now running against him in the 2013 mayor's race.
"These important issues should be discussed in the public record," she added.
For months, city officials have been speculating over when Garcetti would step down as president, a move that would allow him to devote more time to run for mayor.
So far, the only person discussed as a possible replacement is Councilman Herb Wesson, who represents such neighborhoods as Koreatown and the Crenshaw District.
Wesson spokesman Edward Johnson would not comment on whether his boss wants to replace Garcetti.
But Julie Wong, a spokeswoman for Garcetti, said her boss plans to step down from his leadership post at the end of the year.
Councilman Dennis Zine, who is the No. 3 official on the council, said he had no plans to resign from his own leadership post. But he confirmed that one of the council's members had asked him for support in a bid for the presidency.
Zine refused to reveal who person that is.
"That's something I discussed in private," he said.
Perry's announcements sets the stage for some heated talks about the new council boundaries, including questions over district lines in downtown, Koreatown and the San Fernando Valley.
The Redistricting Commission plans to hold a flurry of public hearings in coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Wesson aide Andrew Westall has begun negotiations to become the panel's executive director.
In a statement, Garcetti called Perry "a great friend and devoted public servant."
"I look forward to continuing our work together," he said.
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Jan Perry in 2007. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times