LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Former City Council President Herb Wesson is set to be immortalized at City Hall, with council members proposing a resolution Wednesday that would name the stairs entering the south side of the building the Herb J. Wesson Jr. Steps.
Wesson, who served on the council from 2005 to 2020 and was president from 2012 to 2020, was honored in the chamber Wednesday as part of a celebration on the first day of Black History Month.
"When people visit the south steps of L.A. City Hall, they'll know they are standing on the Herb J. Wesson Jr. steps -- and they will know and learn about your extraordinary legacy for this city," said Paul Krekorian, the current council president.
Mayor Karen Bass and comedian Tiffany Haddish, a friend of Wesson's, also spoke in the chamber for the celebration at the end of Wednesday's council meeting. The council also honored Yvonne Wheeler, who recently became the first Black woman to head the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
Wesson, in his remarks, urged the current council to "lead this great city, not manage it." He specifically asked for the council to adopt policing reforms.
Wesson said that when he was growing up, his grandparents taught him what to say when the police pulled him over. Wesson, whose youngest grandson turns 15 in a month, said he was going to teach his grandson the same lessons: Put both hands on the wheel. Move slowly. Treat the officers with respect. If you're mad, you never show it.
"If you as a council really, really do something, help me ensure that my grandson's sons don't have to get that lesson," Wesson said.
The former council president asked the council to take up motions on policing traffic stops and an office of unarmed response.
"Have that debate and that conversation," Wesson said. "I'm not saying it's an easy fix, but have that conversation. The winds in this country blow from the west to the east. People in this country wake up every day, (and) they look to see what you do here in Los Angeles."