Acting Los Angeles City Council President Mitch O’Farrell has canceled the Friday, Oct. 14 scheduled City Council meeting, saying the “people’s business cannot be conducted” until council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo resign their council seats.
In a statement, O’Farrell also said he will begin exploring holding a special election to fill former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez’s seat. Martinez’s term was set to expire at the end of 2024.
Martinez, De Leon and Cedillo were present in October of 2021 when a secret recording captured Martinez making racist statements as the three city leaders discussed with a powerful labor leader how the city’s redistricting process could be manipulated to benefit them.
Martinez resigned as the elected representative of City Council District 6 on Wednesday following the weekend release of the secretly recorded conversation from 2021 involving a series of racist remarks, uttered primarily by Martinez.
The city’s Chief Legislative Analyst will serve as a non-voting caretaker of the Sixth District effective immediately, under anappointment by O’Farrell. Sharon Tso currently serves as the Chief Legislative Analyst. The office of the Chief Legislative Analyst advises the council on developing legislation, analyzing budgets and other policy research. A non-voting caretaker does not hold a seat, but oversees the council office to make sure the district provides services and other basic functions.
O’Farrell says he remains frustrated at the refusal of Cedillo and De León to step down from their seats following the revelation of the racism-laden recorded meeting from October 2021.
All week, the City Council chamber has been filled with loud crowds demanding that all three involved step down, and the City Council has been unable to do its usual work.
O’Farrell said today, “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.”
He says he spoke at length with Cedillo yesterday, Wednesday, but has been unable to reach De León.
O’Farrell says that by canceling the Friday Oct. 14 council meeting, he hopes other members will use the time to be in theircommunities and meeting with constituents.
He says, “We know that the upset and the unrest that’s out there requires that we just keep listening to people.”
De León and Gil Cedillo, the other two council members heard on the tape, are also facing calls to resign but have so fardefied them.
“Now that there is a vacancy in the Sixth Council District, the immediate appointment of a caretaker will ensure that the office continues to operate and that matters important to constituents are handled,” O’Farrellsaid.
A special election to replace Martinez would not take place until spring 2023 at the earliest.
“Most importantly, I want to hear from the constituents of the Sixth District, who deserve a full voice in their government,” O’Farrell said. “This vacancy was created through no fault of their own.”
At least two other council members — Paul Krekorian and Marqueece Harris-Dawson — signaled an intent to have a special election for Martinez’s seat, as well as for De León’s seat if he resigns. De León’s term also expires in December 2024.
Cedillo lost his re-election bid to Eunessis Hernandez earlier this year, and Krekorian suggested swearing in Hernandez immediately if Cedillo resigns.