Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Governor of California, spoke out this past Sunday to officially request the resignations of Los Angeles City Council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo in the wake of recently leaked audio put forth earlier this month, where both of them took part in a closed-door meeting concerning redistricting where they issued extremely racist comments.
After the 2022 California gubernatorial debate finished up between Republican challenger state Senator Brian Dahle and Newsom himself, Newsom expressed to the gathered media personnel that the pair of city officials from L.A. should go along in the footsteps of City Council President Nury Martinez, who tendered their resignation from the council back on the 12th of October.
“I was very clear with Nury that she did the right thing, and I think the others should do the same,” Newsom explained to the press, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I wanted to provide the opportunity for them to justify … what they said and the opportunity to be transparent about what they said. So we’re hoping and looking forward to [resignation] announcements soon.”
As part of this closed-door recorded conversation, the city officials for L.A. met to discuss just how the city would shift around the boundaries of the council districts for the next decade — gearing them more toward assisting Latino political leaders maintain their power, protect economic interests, and to re-elect Latino members.
The leaked audio recordings, which were first made public by an unnamed Reddit user and then later by The Los Angeles Times, exposed the racist statements from Martinez concerning another council member, Mike Bonin, who is a gay white man, and his adopted black child, Oaxacan immigrants living in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles and highly offensive statements about Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s association with the black community.
This past Wednesday, Councilmember de León stated in a televised interview on Noticiero Univision that he “will not resign” from his role during this public and political backlash from the state, local, and federal officials. Cedillo has also ignored the idea. Both members have been kicked off their various committees.
While agreeing that Martinez made the correct choice when he stepped down, Newsom has stated that he wishes for and looks forward to seeing both de León and Cedillo announcing their resignations promptly.
“I wanted to give them space, but I think I was very clear with Nury, that she did the right thing. And I think the others should do the same,” stated Newsom. “I wanted to provide the opportunity for them to justify what they said, and the opportunity to be transparent about what they said. And so we’re hoping and looking forward to announcements soon.”
When the recordings came to light, Newsom first stated via a social media post that “words matter, and racist language can do real harm.”
“These comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect,” he stated.
Words matter, and racist language can do real harm.
These comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect. pic.twitter.com/s8obxz8ae4
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) October 10, 2022