Friday’s Los Angeles City Council meeting has been canceled as pressure mounts for the two remaining members heard in a racist leaked audio recording to resign, Acting Council President Mitch O’Farrell announced.
Former council President Nury Martinez resigned from her seat Wednesday, days after stepping down from her leadership position and announcing a leave of absence.
Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, however, have not released any statements following Martinez’ resignation on Wednesday.
O’Farrell indicated he spoke to Cedillo, who is “taking into consideration the gravity of the moment,” but the acting president said he has not been able to discuss the matter with de León.
O’Farrell said he will instead spend Friday speaking to his constituents and hearing their concerns about the ongoing fallout from the leaked audio.
“We know that the upset and the unrest that’s out there requires that we just keep listening to people,” he said.
O’Farrell added that the City Council cannot remove members or force them to resign, but they can strip them of their committee assignments and official duties.
“That is on the way,” O’Farrell said about a potential censure of the two members.
He is “surprised” that de León and Cedillo haven’t resigned, but remains “hopeful” they will as pressure grows “intense.”
“There is so much work going on to help these colleagues understand what must happen,” O’Farrell said.
In the recording from last October, Martinez is heard making disparaging comments about fellow Councilmember Mike Bonin’s adopted Black son, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, Oaxacans in Koreatown and other communities.
The three council members were meeting with Ron Herrera, former president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, to discuss how City Council district boundaries should be redrawn and how the group could maintain Latino political power, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Herrera has since resigned from the influential post.
Cedillo lost a reelection bid to Eunisses Hernandez and is set to leave his post in the coming months.
The California Department of Justice is now investigating the city’s redistricting process thanks to the scandal that erupted over the audio recording.
“The leaked audio has cast doubt on a cornerstone of our political processes. We will endeavor to bring the truth to light to help restore confidence in the process for the people of our state,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement Wednesday, calling the comments “unacceptable.”
O’Farrell tried to lead a City Council meeting Wednesday but was shouted down by protestors and the meeting was canceled.
As for Martinez’ seat, O’Farrell said he is working so the 6th council district staff can stay intact to meet the needs of constituents until a special election can be held for that seat.