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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Julia Wick

Friday's LA City Council meeting canceled, next steps unclear

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council will not hold its regularly scheduled meeting Friday amid calls for the resignation of two members, acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell said Thursday.

“The people’s business cannot be conducted until we have these next two resignations,” O’Farrell said at a City Hall news conference, referring to Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, who were heard on the leaked audio that included racist remarks and led to Wednesday’s resignation of Council member Nury Martinez.

Shortly before O’Farrell spoke, Council members Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mike Bonin also said they did not think the council should meet Friday.

The council typically meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s unclear how — or if — they will proceed next week if de León and Cedillo do not tender their resignations.

“I am certainly not prepared, nor am I the one, to cancel any meetings indefinitely. But this is a moment-by-moment crisis,” O’Farrell said.

Along with sweeping policy decisions, the legislative body is responsible for an array of workaday responsibilities that help keep the city running, such as approving contracts, making appropriations and weighing in on real estate projects.

O’Farrell said the fact that the two council members had yet to resign was “a little surprising, quite frankly, because what our jobs are is to put our personal feelings and our personal ambitions and our egos to the side as elected officials and do what’s best for the city.”

“Mr. Cedillo and I had a long, very frank conversation yesterday,” O’Farrell said, noting that Cedillo was taking “the gravity of the moment” into consideration.

“Many of us are doing our best to get ahold of Mr. de León,” O’Farrell added, saying he had last spoken to de León on Tuesday.

O’Farrell’s action comes amid turmoil that has followed the release of the recording.

The surreptitiously recorded October 2021 conversation between Martinez, de León, Cedillo and a top labor leader included racist and derogatory remarks — including one by Martinez, who is Latino, suggesting that a white colleague’s young Black son needed a “beatdown.” Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who is heard on the tape, also resigned from his post.

Holding off meeting indefinitely until the two council members resign would likely come with legal and procedural hurdles.

But the council also needs a quorum of 10 members in order to meet, an issue that prevented Wednesday’s council meeting from moving forward.

Protests, anger and tears roiled Tuesday’s council meeting — the first since the leak was made public. Protesters drowned out O’Farrell’s attempts to call Wednesday’s meeting to order over the course of about an hour. The meeting eventually adjourned after the council lost its quorum when Harris-Dawson left the room.

“He left the meeting because he felt like the council president lost control and that’s why he went upstairs,” Rhonda Mitchell, a spokesperson for Harris-Dawson, said Wednesday afternoon.

Before the news conference Thursday, Council member Mike Bonin, whose young son was denigrated during the tape, told Spectrum’s Kate Cagle that he didn’t think the council should meet on Friday if Cedillo and de León hadn’t resigned.

“I think it’s impossible for us to do anything with them still part of the council,” Bonin said.

Harris-Dawson seconded that opinion on Twitter, quote-tweeting the clip and saying, “I’m with @MikeBoninLA.”


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