Harris-Dawson eyeing council presidency?

Post to Lead Story and South Los Angeles with photo Marqueece Harris-Dawson

By Ray Richardson

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson is considering a bid to become the next president of the Los Angeles City Council, according to some City Hall insiders who asked not to be named. If he does he can count on the support of at least one of his colleagues.

“I would back him,” City Councilman Curren Price said. “He would be a great president. He knows how to bring people together.”

Harris-Dawson was unavailable for comment.

The City Council president’s seat has been the topic of City Hall discussions because current President Paul Krekorian will leave the council when his term expires in December.

An election among the 15 City Council members later this year will ultimately decide who replaces Krekorian. Before an election date has been determined, several City Council members, including Price, have indicated that Harris-Dawson has spoken to them regarding his interest in the position. 

Price’s support for Harris-Dawson is viewed as a significant development as other City Council members consider making a pitch for the president’s seat. Fifth District Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky is one of the members who reportedly will ask to be considered.

Price, who represents the 9th District, had his eye on the seat after being named president pro tem in 2021. Allegations of ethics violations led Price to resign from his president pro tem role. He confirmed to The Wave that he is no longer interested in pursuing the president’s seat.

“At this point, I’m throwing all of my support behind Marqueece,” Price said of Harris-Dawson. “His leadership would be important for the City Council. He has a high level of respect among the members.”

Harris-Dawson, 54, replaced Price as president pro tem and helped assume a vital leadership role after the City Council was rocked by the leaked audio tape scandal involving Councilman Kevin de León and former City Council President Nury Martinez.

Harris-Dawson was one of the more vocal council members expressing outrage over the racist comments heard in the recording and openly led calls for de León to resign. Though de León has remained in office, many people got a chance to see how Harris-Dawson responds in crisis situations.

“When you see Harris-Dawson, you don’t see color,” said Robert Sausedo, president and CEO of Community Build, Inc., which has an office in Harris-Dawson’s 8th District. “What you see is the skills required to embrace everyone. He puts community needs over individual objectives.”

Harris-Dawson’s strength in the community was reflected in the March primary. He was re-elected to a third term with a commanding 78% of the vote. Harris-Dawson’s primary opponents, Cliff Smith and Jahan Epps, barely moved the needle in shrinking Harris-Dawson’s support in the Eighth District.

Harris-Dawson also has a strong connection with Mayor Karen Bass after they worked together at Community Coalition, a South L.A. nonprofit founded by Bass. When Bass left the organization in 2004 to run for the state Assembly, she had enough confidence in Harris-Dawson to advise the board of directors to install him as her successor.

“It doesn’t hurt to have that kind of support in City Hall,” Sausedo said of the common ground between Bass and Harris-Dawson. “Marqueece knows how City Hall works. There’s no better person to take over as president. He knows how to move resources and that’s very important.”

Krekorian, 64, has yet to announce when he will actually step down as council president. 

Ray Richardson is a contributing writer for The Wave. He can be reached at rayrich55@gmail.com

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