On October 9, 2022, the Los Angeles Times reported on statements made approximately one year earlier during a meeting among Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo, along with local labor leader Ron Hererra.
During that meeting, which was secretly recorded, the group participated in extended discussions that were fraught with blatantly racist and hateful comments. These comments included racial slurs and cruel mockery directed at members of the African American, LGBTQ, indigenous and Armenian American communities, as well as derisive comments about “white members” of the Council. Some of the comments were directed at an African American child who is the son of a Member of the City Council. The comments made during that meeting were abhorrent and indefensible.
All elected officials of the City are expected to conform to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct. At all times, and especially at the very moment when our nation and our city have suffered so painfully from hatred, racism and toxic divisiveness, every Member of the City Council must demonstrate a clear commitment to uniting people around our common values and our common interests in building a better future together. Every Member of the City Council has an obligation to ensure that our constituents can have confidence that we will serve each of them with equity, fairness and dignity, and that no resident of our city will be mistreated or excluded because of their identity.
During that meeting, each of the Members of the City Council who made or otherwise participated in these statements grossly failed to meet the high standards expected of them as elected officials of this city. Their actions and inactions were completely contrary to the standard of conduct that the public is entitled to demand of its elected public servants. They demonstrated contempt and disrespect toward communities and individuals they were elected to serve, and they have damaged the public’s faith in how this city is governed.
Community leaders and members of the public have responded with justified outrage, condemning the words of all four participants in the recorded meeting and calling for the immediate resignation of the three Councilmembers.
Under the City Charter, the Council’s powers to suspend or remove a Member are limited to specific circumstances defined therein. The power to remove members for offensive misconduct of this kind is reserved to the voters of their districts. Section 209 of the Charter, however, gives the Council the power “to adopt, by a two-thirds vote, a resolution of censure with respect to any member of the Council whose actions constitute a gross failure to meet [the highest standards of personal and professional conduct], even if the action does not constitute a ground for removal from office under the Charter.”
For all of these reasons, the City Council of Los Angeles does hereby RESOLVE that Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo are hereby CENSURED for their conduct and statements during the referenced meeting of October 2021, and the Council joins the community in demanding their immediate resignation from the Council.