Mitch O’Farrell, the acting President of Los Angeles City Council, officially removed both Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo from their positions on various committees and their assignments as of Monday in the wake of leaked audio recordings which highlighted a series of incriminating allegations of racism and corruption within the City Council chambers.
As the replacement for former council president Nury Martinez in the wake of her resignation announcement this past week, O’Farrell has called on De León and Cedillo to officially step down. Despite this, while dealing with mounting calls to leave their positions, both of the councilors have outright refused to leave those positions. Instead, O’Farrell forcefully removed the city officials from their chairmanships and committee positions that correspond with issues such as housing, homelessness, real estate, and development.
“The only recourse is resignation or recall,” O’Farrell explained to The Los Angeles Times. “I do not see the remaining two members who haven’t resigned coming back to council with any level of credibility whatsoever.”
Additionally, heard in the audio recordings with Martinez, Cedillo, and de León was Ron Herrera, the President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, who resigned from his place this past week directly after Martinez.
As part of a recorded, closed-door, conversation, the group of officials from L.A. gathered to discuss just how the city would set back up the boundaries of the council districts for the next ten years — geared toward assisting the various Latino descent political leaders in maintaining their power, the re-election of Latino members, and the protection of their economic interests.
The leaked audio recordings, first released by an unnamed Reddit user and then reported on by The Los Angeles Times, highlighted the racist comments from Matinez concerning another council member Mike Bonin, a gay white man, and the man’s adopted son.
Martinez also commented about the Oaxacan immigrants residing in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles and additional offensive statements regarding the association with the black community of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
Councilmember de León issued their own offensive statement within the recording that targeted Bonin.
O’Farrel explained that he pushed De León to officially resign this past Monday morning but has not received a new response from the councilor since last week.
“I made it really clear he absolutely should not attend any future council meetings,” expressed O’Farrell, as reported by Axios.
O’Farrell explained that he spoke just last week with Cedillo.
“I felt that he was reconciling his feelings about this transgression and understood the gravity of the moment,” explained O’Farrell, going on to state that Cedillo would not make an appearance with the council.
It was reported by the Los Angeles Times that de León and Cedillo have expressed their apologies or regret for their involvement.
While Cedillo stated he “should have intervened” as his colleagues devolved down to the use of “racially divisive” language, De León expressed that he regrets “appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family.”
“My mission, and my duty, is to help this city heal and to keep it moving forward so that we can all move on from this terrible time,” O’Farrell concluded.