The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to censure Councilmembers Kevin de Leon, Gil Cedillo and former member Nury Martinez.
The censure is a public rebuke of the three councilmembers involved in the controversial leaked recording earlier this month, and was the only remaining legal move the council could make against the members. The council cannot remove, nor suspend the members and although Martinez already resigned, de Leon and Cedillo have remained, with no intention of stepping down.
“A few weeks ago, I could not imagine that we’d be here today, taking this unprecedented step of censuring Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon,” Councilmember Bob Blumenfield said during Wednesday’s council meeting. “Hate rolled off the tip of their tongues and while not illegal, people who engage in this sort of behavior should not hold public office.”
While Cedillo’s term will end in December, de Leon has stated multiple times that he would not resign, instead opting to “help” the city “heal.” A remaining option for de Leon’s removal would be a recall vote.
Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson called out his colleague for his recent string of interviews and unwillingness to resign, saying de Leon “holds the city hostage.”
“Mr. de Leon… continues to go on a revisionist history tour in the public and continues to make a mockery of this council and a mockery of the entire city for his own personal benefit,” Harris-Dawson said. “And I think it causes a reaction in the public that we saw today and I think that will continue to happen as long as he holds the city hostage.”
The reaction Harris-Dawson referenced was the outraged group of protesters that filled the council chamber Wednesday, holding signs that read, “This meeting is illegitimate,” and chanting for de Leon and Cedillo to resign.
Since the council recordings were leaked on October 9, protesters have gathered outside City Hall, outside the homes of the councilmembers and every single council meeting that was held in-person.
“This council has been incredibly tolerant… of the type of activity that would normally lead to the end of a council meeting and the reason for that is because we have wanted to demonstrate that Mr. de Leon and his failure to resign, will not cause this council not to conduct its work,” Council President Paul Krekorian said Wednesday.
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