Welcome to the club

Robert Greene in the LA Weekly observed the welcome ritual for L.A.'s newest city council members and says they fit in like familiar veterans—and for good reason.

On their first day in office, new City Council members José Huizar and Herb Wesson showed they had already mastered the finer points of council decorum by making sure not to pay attention to public comment. Having made their own speeches and having been praised by the mayor and the city attorney, both councilmen stepped out of the chambers while members of the public brought forward their thoughts and petitions.


The overriding theme of the morning’s ceremonies seemed to be that these two, while the newest on board, have been welcomed in as members of an exclusive club, already well-versed in the City Council’s ways.

Wesson drove that point home by noting that he had worked as top staffer for Nate Holden beginning in 1987, when he met many of the current council members. “Greig Smith and Tom LaBonge and I were kinda young, good-looking guys running around this place,” he said of two fellow staffers-turned-councilmen, and he could have included Jan Perry and Ed Reyes in that group. He knew Dennis Zine as a leader of the Police Protective League, Bernard Parks as police chief, Wendy Greuel as a mayoral staffer. He recalled meeting Eric Garcetti through his father, former District Attorney Gil Garcetti. Alex Padilla made courtesy calls on him in Sacramento, where he served four years with “Tony Cardenas, my brother.”

As for former public-affairs cablecaster Bill Rosendahl, “The first interview I did [as Assembly speaker] was with Bill, and he treated me gently and kind, and it was probably one of the best interviews I ever gave.” Plus, Wesson threw in, he and Jack Weiss share the same campaign treasurer. Wesson called Huizar “a friend of mine for years,” then called on the council to “give him and yourselves another round of applause.”

Greene also looks behind Tuesday's departure of Thomas Garthwaite as head of the county health department.

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