Two Los Angeles City councilmen embroiled in a racism scandal will be removed from their committee assignments, acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell announced Monday.
Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo will no longer sit on committees dealing with real estate development, housing and other issues, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“My mission and my duty is to help this city heal,” O’Farrell said during a news conference Monday. “The only recourse is resignation or recall.”
O’Farrell had previously said that the council cannot force the men to resign from their posts or remove them, but he remained “hopeful” that they would step down.
The men have not released statements since Nury Martinez resigned from the council nearly a week after the Los Angeles Times published leaked audio in which the former council president could be heard making racist comments about fellow Councilmember Mike Bonin’s adopted Black son, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, the Oaxacan community in Koreatown and more.
The audio was recorded a year ago during a meeting discussing redistricting in Los Angeles with the councilmembers and Ron Herrera, former president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, who has also since resigned.
Since the audio was released, there has been mounting pressure from the City Council, other elected leaders and the public for de León and Cedillo to resign. Cedillo is set to leave his position in December after losing his seat to Eunisses Hernandez.
Protestors shut down a council meeting last week and demonstrators even camped out near de Leon’s Eagle Rock home Monday demanding accountability.
“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.
Also on Monday, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer submitted a proposal for the City Council to call a special election in the spring to vote on an amendment for an interim independent redistricting process in which the L.A. County Citizens Redistricting Commission would redraw District lines in 2023.
“The recent release of the hateful conversation in which three City Councilmembers discussed how City Council districts should be drawn makes inescapably clear that the City needs a truly independent redistricting process to ensure the fairness and legitimacy of district boundaries and the system that establishes them,” Feuer wrote in his proposal. “We need to act urgently to begin to heal the divisions in our City, reform how our City conducts business and restore public confidence and trust.”