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With Mark Ridley-Thomas Suspended, Who Will Represent Angelenos In CD 10?

Two men, one seated and one standing, behind an exotic produce stand at the Leimert Park African Marketplace.
A vendor at the Leimert Park African Marketplace and Drum Circle Farmer's Market
(Courtesy of Phillip C. Kim)
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There's a lot of uncertainty over who will look after the constituents in L.A.'s Council District 10, which includes a chunk of mid-city and Koreatown, after the Los Angeles City Council voted to suspend Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been indicted on federal bribery charges.

Pastor William D. Smart Jr. heads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California. He's afraid CD 10 will no longer have a voice in matters such as the upcoming redistricting vote.

“Mark Ridley-Thomas over the years has really been a strong voice in that for our community, particularly the African American community,” Pastor Smart said.

There's also a big question mark over constituent services. Billion Godsun works with the Leimert Park Village Vendors on the neighborhood's Sunday farmer’s market. After lengthy discussion with Ridley-Thomas' office, the group sent in a funding request a couple weeks before his suspension.

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“So that very likely means he won't be able to follow through with what he had been saying for a few months,” Godsun said.

Jamie Penn serves as vice president of the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council, which weighs in on legislation on behalf of the entire community. She’s concerned that the neighborhood’s voice won’t be heard without a councilmember who is able to cast a vote, saying that “this completely cuts off the stakeholders of CD 10 from civic engagement.”

It's unclear what happens now to Ridley-Thomas' seat on the council. A spokesperson for City Council President Nury Martinez said she's weighing all options to temporarily fill his seat, and that Ridley-Thomas' staff would continue to provide services to his constituents. A District 10 spokesperson declined to comment.

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