Acting Los Angeles City Council President Mitch O’Farrell removed Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo from a variety of committee assignments on Monday in order to encourage them to resign, following the leak of a conversation they took part in with former Council President Nury Martinez in which she called Councilman Mike Bonin’s Black son “a monkey” and protested that L.A. District Attorney George Gascon would not help hispanic residents in redistricting because, “Fuck that guy! He’s with the Blacks.”
Although Martinez has quit her seat, and Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, also resigned his post after the meeting was leaked, Cedillo and De León have been refusing to step down, and O’Farrell said the two men had both disqualified themselves from committees concerning real estate development, housing, and homelessness, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Governor Gavin Newsom and even President Biden have urged the pair to resign. Still, O’Farrell has not been able to persuade either De León or Cedillo to step aside, which is even thornier considering recent reporting that De Leon took money from a known mobster.
“The only recourse is resignation or recall,” O’Farrell said. “I do not see the remaining two members who haven’t resigned coming back to council with any level of credibility whatsoever.”
Protestors shut down a city council meeting last week and demonstrators have camped out near de Leon’s home Monday looking for answers, according to KTLA.
“It’s clear that we need to up the pressure, it’s clear that we have to escalate because they’re not being responsible, being accountable,” Joseph Williams of Black Lives Matter said.
The council will vote Tuesday to elect a new president, a position that acting President O’Farrell has already said he does not seek.
Although Cedillo initially claimed, “I don’t have a recollection of this conversation,” he apologized barely a day later for getting busted in it, saying it was “wholly inappropriate” and that he had fallen “short of the expectations we set for our leaders.”
In De León’s apology, he expressed chagrin about “appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family.”