L.A. mayor candidate Perry claims corruption in redistricting fight
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Jan Perry on Tuesday sent out a sharply worded campaign email laced with accusations of corruption. But she wasn’t attacking City Councilman Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel or any of her other opponents in next year’s race.
Instead, her targets were City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Jose Huizar, two politicians who she believes are behind a redistricting proposal that would strip much of downtown L.A. from her 9th District.
In an email to downtown voters, Perry suggested Huizar was not fit to lead the district and said his one-time practice of preparing lists that graded civic leaders numerically on their political influence and level of support for him, “points to the kind of representation that Downtown residents can expect" from Huizar, who would be its new representative should the redistricting pass.
She wrote that instead of listening to voters, the redistricting commission that redrew boundaries for all 15 council districts has taken directions “to fulfill the political agenda of city hall insiders, special interests and future candidates for public office."
Perry has been sounding that cry since the changes were first proposed in January. She has accused Wesson of using his influence to gut her district, which she says is punishment for her refusal last year to back his bid to run the council.
But increasingly, she has also used her mayoral campaign as a platform to address the issue. Her campaign consultant, Eric Hacopian, said the redistricting fight is a legitimate campaign issue that “has become emblematic and systematic of how the city is not working and not serving the citizens of Los Angeles.”
Wesson has downplayed his role in the process and said he didn't take Perry's criticism personally. “She can do what she wants to do,” he said, adding: “I will never, ever publicly say anything derogatory about another colleague.”
He said the redistricting maps are still being finalized and that some adjustments may be made before March 16, when the City Council is expected to draft an ordinance changing the council district boundaries.
When asked whether he would support amendments to the boundaries downtown, Wesson said: “At this point in time, I would say I’m comfortable with the way that it is now, or close to that."
The council is holding public hearings on the proposed changes in Van Nuys on Tuesday and at City Hall on Wednesday.
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry at a City Hall meeting in 2010. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times