In the wake of L.A.’s newly elected leadership and in an effort to move past the city council scandal sparked by leaked racist tapes, a coalition of faith and community leaders gathered this week to echo the call for the resignations of Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon. The resignations of past council president, Nury Martinez and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, they say are not enough given the chaos created by their actions.
“We have joined the voices of unity, in unity, in a call for clarity, demanding that Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon resign from the office and resign immediately,” Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of First AME Church stated. “Mr. Cedillo, Mr. DeLeon, both of you have irreparably destroyed and betrayed the trust between you and your voters, the voters who are constituents in your district. You have shamed your constituents. You have disgraced the City of Los Angeles. You have outrightly attached a colleague, a fellow member, with the racist references that you made against him and his minor child. Your actions have created racial and ethnic rifts across communities, across Los Angeles. Your actions have made you unfit for public office… Do the right thing and resign your office and allow the City to begin to heal.”
Latricia Mitchell, president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, directed her comments specifically to DeLeon.
“Everyone in the United States knows your name, Mr. de Leon. The mask you were wearing has now come off,” Mitchell said. “We know who you really are. You are not helping the people in Council District 14 because you are not at the Council meeting. You said, ‘No, I will not resign because there is a lot of work ahead.’ Yes, there is work, but you are no longer the person to do that as an elected official. If there is work to do, you can do it as a community member. It is time for you to resign.”
SCLC Los Angeles chapter president, Rev. William Smart was among those who are concerned about the negativity “brewing in the community” following the fallout from the closed-door meeting.
“It is very important that as we establish and move forward in a beloved community, that we have people that understand unequivocally that you have and say the right words, even behind closed doors,” Smart observed. “Even though Kevin de Leon has two more years, we cannot afford to move forward with him on the City Council. “Resign Kevin, resign. Resign Kevin, resign”
Boyd, who called the conference together, concluded by saying: “The citizens of Los Angeles are calling upon these Councilmembers to stop their divisive resistance and voluntarily remove themselves from office, so that the City’s residents can heal and receive much needed City services, free of the distraction caused by these Councilmembers.”